Minister: Suit Challenging Planned Marriage of Orphaned Girls Not Yet Withdrawn

Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, yesterday, said the lawsuit challenging the proposed mass marriage of 100 orphaned girls in Niger State has not been withdrawn.
“The case is not yet withdrawn. I want to make that clear. How do I withdraw a case in a day?” the minister said while speaking on Channels Television.
She explained: “Well, before I even withdraw the case, we have to go back to court and then tell the court that we have settled. We are withdrawing the case. Do you understand?

“How can I go and withdraw? We are still trying to organise ourselves on how to partner well and get this problem sorted.”
Her comment followed the Niger State House of Assembly Speaker Abdulmalik Sarkindaji’s proposed mass marriage of 100 orphaned girls in his constituency.
The move got a pushback from several quarters, prompting the minister to file a suit challenging the proposed marriage. Following the backlash, Sarkindaji had said he was discontinuing with the plans.

Although the duo met yesterday, to explore options to resolve the issue the minister explained that, “I filed a motion ex parte. I equally filled a motion on notice. Why did I do that before I met with my brothers and we decided to make peace?

“I filed it because, by the time motion ex parte expires, they must have gotten their seven days to file their response.
“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.”
Earlier yesterday, after a meeting with Sarkindaji, addressing journalists after the meeting, the minister said she and Sarkindaji have reconciled their differences and are now partnering to seek better alternatives for the girls.

Kennedy-Ohanenye said she secured an injunction from the Minna high court to restrain the organisers from proceeding with the wedding.
She added that “the court injunction still subsists till we resolve all grey areas”.
“I want to let you know that as I speak to you now, I’m at peace with my royal father, Emir of Kontagora, Mohammed Bara’u Mu’azu, and I am in good terms with my brother, the Speaker. We have made peace,” Kennedy-Ohanenye said.

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