Rights group condemns Speaker’s plan to marry off 100 female orphans in Niger state

…..calls for immediate reversal

By Samuel Ogunsona

Take It Back (TIB) movement, has called for immediate reversal of plans by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly to marry off 100 female orphans.

The rights group said the decision made by the Niger state assembly speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, to marry off 100 orphans in the state as part of his constituency project is “insentive” and “worrisome”.

In a statement signed by Head, Gender Department, Omolola Pedro, made available to Irohinodua on Saturday, the group said the Speaker must revoke the initiative immediately.

Sarkindaji, in Minna on Friday announced plans to marry off 100 female orphans as part of his empowerment project.

He also promised to pay their bride price before the mass marriage ceremony which slated for May 24 at Bangi, the headquarters of Mariga Local Government Area.

According to TIB, which totally condemed the initiative, the unfortunate incident that occurred to the girls who lost their parents to the hands of bandits is as a result of government incompetence in tackling insecurity.

The group said it is worrisome that girls- children who have lost their parents to banditry in the state are about to be “empowered” by being married off like some tubers of yam.

The group argued that the Speaker has some explanations to do, about his definition of empowerment.

“One would expect that the Niger state government will compensate these girls on the unfortunate loss of their parents, leaving them to live lives alone, a result of the incompetence of the government in tackling insecurity, by providing them with education and opportunities capable of turning their lives around, but rather chose the easy way out to marry them off, a very insensitive, and careless decision” the group stated.

However, the group argued that even though the ages of these girls were not made public but believes some of them are minor and it’s against child rights Act.

The group stated, “Child marriage remains prevalent in Nigeria because the federal and state governments have not adequately enforced laws to prevent it, such that a Speaker of an Assembly is emboldened to identify it as a worthy constitutional project.

“It is disturbing that after more than two decades after the Child Rights Act was passed, Nigerian girls are still being forced into child marriages” group said.

The group hereby call on the Speaker of Niger state to immediately disembark on on what they described as “ill-fated” journey and make immediate reversal in his decision.

They also make reinforcements call for a gender friendly governance that frowns upon all forms of Gender-Based Violence (GBV) in the country.

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