You’re Overstepping Your Bounds – Imams Warn Tinubu’s Minister Over Mass Marriage of 100 Girls Orphaned by Bandits

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Uju Kennedy Ohanenye
Uju Kennedy Ohanenye
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Niger State Council of Imams Issues Ultimatum to Minister Over Mass Wedding Comments.

The Niger State Council of Imams has issued a one-week ultimatum to the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, demanding the withdrawal of her remarks condemning the plan by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, to sponsor mass weddings for 100 girls of marriage age in his constituency.

These girls are either orphans or come from families too impoverished to fund their weddings.

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Tinubu’s Minister sues Speaker over plan to marry off 1000 girls orphaned by banditry

Secretary of the Imam Council in the state, Umar Abdullahi, delivered this ultimatum at a press conference on Wednesday, cautioning the minister against overstepping her boundaries.

The Imam Council views the minister’s statements as potentially instigating a crisis in the state and the nation at large.

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Kennedy-Ohanenye had criticized the planned mass weddings on Tuesday in Abuja, citing them as a violation of the Child Rights Act.

100 Girls Orphaned by Bandits to be Married Off by Speaker

She disclosed her petition to the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to halt the weddings, alongside filing a lawsuit seeking a restraining injunction against the Niger Speaker.

In response, the Niger Council of Imams, on Tuesday, warned the minister to refrain from interfering in religious and cultural affairs and focus on her ministerial duties. They emphasized that no legal action would impede the scheduled weddings set for May 24.

According to the council secretary, “The planned weddings have the endorsement of religious and traditional leaders in the area. The sponsor of the weddings extensively consulted before assuming responsibility, and we fully support him. The girls are not underage, nor are they being coerced into marriage, contrary to the minister’s assertions. This is a point the minister failed to investigate.”

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The standoff between the Minister of Women Affairs and the Niger State Council of Imams underscores deep-rooted tensions surrounding cultural practices, legal frameworks, and religious traditions in Nigeria.

The outcome of this conflict will significantly impact the rights and welfare of vulnerable girls in the region.

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