Religious Tensions Escalate Over Minister’s Opposition to Orphan Weddings Sponsorship

The Niger State Council of Imams has issued a stern ultimatum to Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, following her opposition to the planned sponsorship of weddings for 100 orphan girls by Niger State Speaker, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji. Kennedy-Ohanenye’s comments and legal actions against the Speaker have sparked outrage among religious leaders, who have given her one week to withdraw her statements.

Umar Abdullahi, the secretary of the Imam Council in Niger State, voiced concerns during a press conference, accusing the Minister of overstepping her authority and potentially inciting crisis in the state and beyond. The Council emphasized that no court injunction would hinder the planned weddings, scheduled for the 24th of this month, which have garnered support from religious and traditional leaders in the region.

Defending the Speaker’s initiative, the Council clarified that the girls involved are not underage and are not being coerced into marriage, contrary to the Minister’s assertions. They urged others to follow Sarkindaji’s example and support couples in need.

Despite Sarkindaji’s announcement of withdrawal from the sponsorship due to the Minister’s opposition, he reiterated the humanitarian nature of his gesture and denounced Kennedy-Ohanenye’s interference as unwarranted. He emphasized that the weddings were not a violation of child rights, as claimed by the Minister.


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