Suit Challenging Marriage Of Orphaned Girls Not Yet Withdrawn, Says Minister

Uju Kennedy

Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has confirmed that the lawsuit against the proposed mass marriage of 100 orphaned girls in Niger State has not been withdrawn, clarifying ongoing misconceptions about the case’s current status.

Speaking on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Friday, Kennedy-Ohanenye emphasized that legal proceedings are still active.

“The case is not yet withdrawn. I want to make that clear. How do I withdraw a case in a day?” she questioned.

Naijaonpoint reports that the minister outlined that formally withdrawing the case would require a court appearance to declare an amicable settlement and subsequent withdrawal officially.

This legal action traces back to a controversial proposal by Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, intending to orchestrate a mass wedding for 100 orphaned girls within his constituency.

However, the plan was met with significant resistance from various groups, prompting the minister’s intervention through a lawsuit.

Despite recent discussions between Kennedy-Ohanenye and Sarkindaji, which suggested a potential resolution, the minister stressed the ongoing judicial process.

She detailed her strategy of filing both a motion ex parte and a motion on notice to ensure that the marriage does not proceed unchecked while the court deliberates.

“By the time motion ex parte expires, they must have gotten their seven days to file their response,” she explained.

“But if I didn’t get the motion ex parte, the wedding could go on before they would be able to file and the whole thing must have been overtaken by events.”

Kennedy-Ohanenye also shared plans for the betterment of the orphaned girls, highlighting educational and employment opportunities.

“Those that have finished secondary school could enter an open university while they’re doing their businesses or we would get a job for them while they’re going to school,” she elaborated.

The minister’s approach involves reintegrating the girls into education and providing vocational training, such as managing Point of Sale (PoS) systems, to ensure they can earn while they learn.

The legal challenge continues to draw attention as it underscores significant issues concerning the rights and welfare of orphaned girls in Nigeria.

The case’s outcome could set a precedent for how vulnerable groups are treated and the role of government in protecting these rights.