APC chieftain lashes at Women Affairs minister, over planned mass wedding of 100 orphan girls in Niger - Ripples Nigeria
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APC chieftain lashes at Women Affairs minister, over planned mass wedding of 100 orphan girls in Niger



A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in Niger State, Jonathan Vatsa, has called on the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohannaya to steer clear of the planned wedding of 100 orphans in the state.

Vatsa, a former Commissioner for Information and Tourism in the state, who addressed a media conference on Wednesday, said the minister was fighting a lost battle as nothing would stop the planned mass wedding.

The Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji had announced plans to marry off 100 orphan girls whose parents were killed by bandits and terrorists.

The planned mass wedding which was scheduled for May 24th, was called off by the Speaker following the intervention of the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohannaya, who petitioned the Inspector General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to stop Sarkindaji from going ahead with the marriages.

Reacting to the development, Vatsa said “The parents of these girls will go ahead and marry out their daughters as planned, whether the Speaker is involved or not. The parents have the right to do so under the Islamic and Hausa traditions.

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“No amount of threat of court action can stop these parents from giving out their daughters in marriage, after receiving the necessary support.

“Instead of sitting in Abuja and issuing threats of court action, the Minister should have done her investigation first to know if these girls have attained the age of marriage by law, or if they were being forced into the marriage, before going on air to threaten the speaker who is merely offering assistance.

“You cannot just sit in an air-conditioned office in Abuja and be threatening people without knowing what these orphans are going through, after losing their parents to insecurity and for those whose parents cannot afford their marriage expenses though they have attained the age of marriage.

“Does the minister have any plans for people who she has never seen or known their plight or is she trying to encourage prostitution in the North? You don’t play politics by interfering with the people’s culture and tradition. More so, these girls have suitors who want to marry them.

“As members of the same political party, I had expected the Minister to get in touch with the Speaker and get firsthand information about the whole thing and offer her advice where necessary, instead of playing to the gallery and going to the media and issuing threats of court action.

“I am sure the Speaker, being a trained lawyer, is not afraid of going to court. The Speaker is not giving the girls out in marriage but just rendering support to the families and no law in Nigeria forbids someone assisting for marriage. That is why I said the minister is fighting a lost battle,” Vatsa said.

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