“You’re overstepping your bounds” – Imams warn Tinubu’s minister over stance on mass marriage

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The Niger State Council of Imams has given the Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, a one-week ultimatum to withdraw her comments condemning the plan by the Speaker of the Niger State House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, to sponsor the mass weddings of 100 girls of marriage age in his constituency, who are either orphans or their parents are too poor to fund their weddings.

The Secretary of the Imam Council in the state, Umar Abdullahi, made this known at a press conference on Wednesday, where he warned the minister not to overstep her bounds.

Abdullahi said the Niger Imam Council viewed the minister’s utterances as capable of causing a crisis in the state and the country in general.

The minister had on Tuesday in Abuja condemned the planned mass weddings, saying it was a violation of the Child Rights Act.

Kennedy-Ohanenye disclosed that she had petitioned the Inspector-General of Police, Kayode Egbetokun, to stop the weddings, adding that she had also filed a suit, seeking a restraining injunction against the Niger Speaker.

Reacting, however, on Tuesday, the Niger Council of Imams warned the minister to steer clear of religious and cultural matters and face her ministerial assignment.

The Imams insisted that no amount of court action would stop the wedding from taking place as planned for May 24.

The council secretary said, “The planned weddings have the blessing of all the religious and traditional leaders from the area. The sponsor of the wedding consulted widely before accepting to take the responsibility and we are strongly behind him.

“The girls are not underage and they are not being forced into the marriage as the minister has made the public to believe. This is what the minister failed to investigate.”

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