Niger Speaker slams minister for opposing mass wedding for 100 orphans of bandit attack

Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye and Niger State Assembly Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji [X, formerly Twitter]

Niger State House of Assembly Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji has criticised the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, for opposing his plan to sponsor the weddings of 100 girls who are orphans of banditry attacks.

In a chat with reporters, the Speaker stated that the minister was misinformed and that she lacked understanding of his constituency and its needs and, therefore, had no grounds to criticise his decision.

He also mentioned that Kennedy-Ohanenye should have consulted him before publicising her statements about his planned wedding to the 100 orphan girls.

The Speaker emphasised that he decided to support the marriages only after being approached by the traditional and religious leaders in his constituency and that the girls involved are of appropriate age.

In a video shared on X by The Nation, the Speaker said, "The traditional and religious leaders approached me, and I decided to support the girls.

"They initially submitted the names of 210 girls to me, but we cut it down to 100. Does the Minister want to say that these leaders are wrong?

"They told me that I would bless the marriage, and I told them I cannot attend every marriage, so they should do it in a day, and I would grace the occasion, and that is the reason for the event.

"I had wanted to grace the occasion but I won't do that again since helping my people has become a crime.

"I will not withdraw whatever support or donations I have given to the leaders and the parents. If they wish to get married, they can. If not, they can use the money and the items for something else," he stated. Sarkindaji insisted he did no wrong.

"I am a typical Hausa man. What is out of order in what I have done? Why is this issue being overflogged? I have pledged to take care of orphans, and that is what I am doing.

"If the federal government, through the Ministry of Women Affairs, wants to extend their helping hands, let them do so, and they are welcome."

The minister announced on Monday that she had taken legal action to halt the mass marriage scheduled for May 24 and had also filed a complaint with the police.


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