New Telegraph

100 Orphans: Minister Empowers Brides With Cash, POS, Sewing Machines, Others

Nigeria’s Minister for Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye has donated various items to the 100 brides from the Mariga Local Government Area of Niger State.

It should be recalled that the 100 girls got sponsorship for their weddings from the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt. Hon. Abdulmalik Sarkindaji.

The Minister announced the empowerment scheme yesterday at the palace of the Emir of Kontagora, Alhaji Mohammed Barau Muazu with the 100 intending Brides in attendance.

She said the empowerment scheme includes 10 Points of Service (POS) Machines, 350 bags of 10kg rice, 100 wrappers and a promise of a scholarship to the University level for those willing to go back to school.

The Minister who was resented by her Special Assistant in the private sector, Engineer Adaji Usman also directed that bank accounts be opened for the 100 intending Brides where a stipend will be sent to them for the next six months to enable them to settle down in their husbands’ houses.

She however blamed the media for escalating the initial controversy surrounding the marriage of the 100 girls, saying that she did not intend to stop the marriage but to be sure if the girls are of marriageable age and we’re not being forced into it.

According to her, every parent would want to marry out their wards if they attain the right age for marriage.

“My initial opposition to the planned marriage was misunderstood, hence the media war between my office and that of the Speaker.

“I must thank the Speaker for the way and manner the issue was handled, and through the traditional institutions in the state.

“I promise that the girls will be closely monitored in their various husband’s houses so that the objectives of the empowerment scheme will not be defeated”.

She added that “the ministry will follow this up with skill acquisitions on their various trades of interest to further empower them.

In his remarks, the speaker, RT Hon Abdulmalik Sarkindaji revealed that the entire drama over his intention to support the marriage of the 100, mostly orphans, was politically motivated adding that “it was pure politics from my Constituency.

They misinformed the minister that I was playing politics with the lives of the children by forcing them into marriage.

“And the minister, because of her passion for women and the girl child quickly waded into the matter even though she could not find out the true position of things.

“But thank God today I have been vindicated, the minister and the whole world have seen that these girls are of marriageable age and nobody is forcing them into it. It is being done through their consent.

“I decided to support the marriage out of genuine concern for these girls majority of whom are orphans as a result of insecurity in my Constituency. It was with a pure heart.

“I equally commend the minister for this empowerment scheme for the girls, she has shown that she is a mother and really meant well for the girl child in this country”.

Sarkindaji pointed out that he will continue to do his best for the good of the people of his Constituency, adding that “I will not be deterred by the dirty politics anybody wants to play. The welfare and the well-being of my people is my primary responsibility and I will not shy away from it.

“In no distance time, we will come up with comprehensive plans for the remaining girls and this will be done in conjunction with the Ministry for Women Affairs and other critical stakeholders to avoid this ugly experience”.

Also speaking the Emir, Alhaji Mohammed Barau Muazu while thanking God for the peaceful resolution of the matter that had unsettled the Emirate in the last two weeks, said “The whole drama was as a result of misunderstanding and lack of communication”.

The Emir further disclosed that all the necessary medical tests, including HIV/AIDS, Genotype, Hepatitis B and pregnancy were conducted and the results were handed over to the representatives of the minister.

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