Minister files suit to stop child marriage in Niger

Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, minister of women affairs, has filed a suit aimed at stopping Niger State speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji from going ahead to marry off 100 girls, who are orphans.

The minister said the act was “totally unacceptable” to both her ministry and the federal government.

She added the proposed marriage violates the Child Rights Act.

“I have gone to court. I have written him a letter and written a petition to the IG of police. I have filed for injunction to stop him from whatever he is planning to do on the 24th, until a thorough investigation is carried out on those girls, find out whether they gave their consent, their ages and find out the people marrying them,’’ Kennedy-Ohanenye stated.

“As the speaker did not think about empowering these women or sending them to school or giving them some kind of training support financially, the Ministry of Women Affairs has decided to take it up and we are going to educate the children.

She advised the speaker to, instead, facilitate how the girls would acquire education or learn a skill.

“If for any reason the Speaker tries to do contrary to what I have just mentioned, there will be a serious legal battle between him and the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs,” she vowed. She also said the matter was being investigated to ascertain the ages of the girls.

According to an agency report, the speaker said the orphaned girls had lost their parents to attacks by bandits.

Abdulmalik said that his aim is to alleviate “the suffering of the impoverished.”








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