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Monday, July 22, 2024

Why I am sponsoring 100 girls to get married – Niger Speaker

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Says, “we are not forcing them into marriage”

Thoroughly criticised for embarking on the sponsorship of the wedding of 100 girls as a constituency project, the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, says he is doing it out of empathy because some the girls are orphans from banditry, while others come from indigent backgrounds.

Mariga Local Government Area, where the girls hail from, has been ravaged by banditry and terrorism in recent years.

Sarkindaji said that he decided to sponsor the marriage of the girls to to their long standing suitors out of genuine concern for their parents.

Reacting to information that the girls are being given out in marriage against their wish, the speaker, in a statement by his spokesman, Mallam Shamsudeen Lawal Binaira, in Minna on Sunday dismissed it, noting that the girls are in two categories, with over half having suitors, but with parents who do not have resources to meet their marriage expenses as required by their customs and traditions.

“The other category are those that have lost their parents to insecurity in the area and have nobody to finance their weeding even though they have their suitors”.

Shamsudeen explained further: “Majority of these girls are orphans who have lost their parents, including children of our galant vigilantes who lost their lives to bandits and (and there is) no one to finance their wedding, despite attaining marriage age with persons ready to marry them.
“These girls are not been married out against their will or that their husbands are been forced on them, they have suitors of their choice but only that the parents and relatives do not have the means to marry them out.

Shamsudeen disclosed further that “according to the tradition of (the) Hausa, you cannot marry out a girl without accompanying her with some essential needs to make her comfortable in her husband house like room furnitures, such as bed, mattress, kitchen utensils among others.

“That is what these girls are lacking and that is the responsibility the speaker agreed to shoulder and relieve the parents of such burden. Their parents have been postponing the marriage for lack of resources and the speaker decided to take (them) over”.

According to Shamsudeen, this  one gesture by the Speaker is one out of many in his constituency to relieve parents.

He pointed out that before arriving at this decision, the speaker embarked on wide consultations with living parents, relations of the orphans among them, religious leaders and other critical stakeholders in the area.

Herecalled that the speaker recently off-set the fees for this year’s Unified Tertiary Matriculation Examination (UTME) organised by the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) for no fewer than 100 candidates from his constituency.

In addition, the 100 candidates enjoyed free training for Computer Base Text (CBT) to enable them get acquainted with the knowledge and the use of computer before the examinations.

“In addition to this 137 indigent students from Mariga have so far benefited from the Speaker’s scholarship programme into various high institutions of learning.

“Again, all the successful candidates in the just concluded JAMB examination will enjoy free sponsorship in their University education as part of the Speakers educational programme for youth in his Constituency”, he added.

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