May 22, 2024

The Niger Speaker has vowed to continue with the mass wedding despite being aware that a complaint has been filed against him before the police.

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

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 decisions.

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.”

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