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In a bid to halt the planned mass wedding of 100 orphaned girls in Niger State, the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has taken legal and administrative action.

She has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Kayode Egbetokun, and sought a court injunction to stop the event organized by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji.


The Speaker announced last week his intention to sponsor the marriages of 100 girls, many orphaned by insurgency, as part of his Mariga constituency project.

He assured that he would cover the costs of dowries and materials for the wedding, set for May 24.

The announcement sparked widespread concern, prompting the Speaker to clarify that the weddings were not forced but financially supported by him.

During a press briefing in Abuja, Minister Kennedy-Ohanenye emphasized the need for a thorough investigation into the circumstances surrounding the planned marriages.

She expressed concerns about the girls’ ages, consent, and readiness for marriage.

She also highlighted the ministry’s commitment to providing education and vocational training for the girls.

“The Ministry has petitioned the Inspector-General of Police (IGP) and sought a court injunction to halt the sponsored marriage until further investigation ensures the welfare of the orphans,” said Ohaeri Osondu Joseph, the minister’s spokesman.

In a formal statement, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs advocated for the education and empowerment of the orphaned girls, instead of early marriage.

The Minister emphasized that developing the girls through education and skills acquisition would be more beneficial and contribute to societal development.

“While acknowledging the Speaker’s good intentions to alleviate suffering, it is crucial to consider the future of these children by determining if they prefer education and empowerment over marriage,” Kennedy-Ohanenye stated.

She argued that prioritizing education and empowerment would break the cycle of poverty and inequality, enabling the girls to make informed choices about their futures and reducing the risk of gender-based violence and other negative outcomes associated with early marriage.

The ministry reiterated its dedication to protecting the rights and welfare of women, children, and vulnerable groups in society, in accordance with the Child’s Rights Act.

Full Statement from the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs:



… Advocates for their education and empowerment

The Federal Ministry of Women Affairs has responded to the proposed mass marriage of 100 orphaned girls in Niger State by Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, planned for May 24. The Ministry insists on investigating the girls’ ages, consent, and preparedness for marriage.

During a press briefing, Minister Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye emphasized the importance of prioritizing education and empowerment over early marriage.

She acknowledged the Speaker’s intent to help but urged a focus on sustainable development for the girls.

The Ministry has petitioned the IGP and sought a court injunction to pause the mass marriage until investigations ensure the orphans’ welfare.

The Ministry remains committed to protecting the rights of women, children, and the vulnerable in society.

Ohaeri Osondu Joseph, Fnipr, Fcai,
Special Assistant, Media.

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