Take It Back Movement Slams Niger State Speaker’s Decision to Marry Off Orphans as Constituency Project, Demands Empowerment and Protection for Vulnerable Girls

The attention of the Take It Back Movement has been brought to the news of the plan of the Speaker of the Niger state House of Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, to marry off 100 female orphans, as a constituency project.

It is worrisome that girl children who have lost their parents to banditry in the state are about to be “empowered” by being married off like some tubers of yam. Mr. Speaker has some explanations to do, about his definition of empowerment.

One would expect that the Niger state government will compensate these girls on the unfortunate loss of their parents, leaving them to live lives alone, a result of the incompetence of the government in tackling insecurity, by providing them with education and opportunities capable of turning their lives around, but rather chose the easy way out to marry them off, a very insensitive, and careless decision.

According to media reports, out of over 20 million out-of-school children in Nigeria, 700,000 of them are from Niger state, with girls being over 250,000. It is only reasonable that Abdulmalik Sarkindaji makes the education of these girls his constituency project, but as common with Nigerian leaders, he chose the easy way out.

Child marriage remains prevalent in Nigeria because the federal and state governments have not adequately enforced laws to prevent it, such that a Speaker of an Assembly is emboldened to identify it as a worthy constitutional project.

It is disturbing that after more than two decades after the Child Rights Act was passed, Nigerian girls are still being forced into child marriages.

Take It Back Movement hereby call on the Speaker of Niger state to immediately disembark on this ill-fated journey.

Take It Back Movement also reinforces its call for a gender friendly governance that frowns upon all forms of Gender-Based violence.

The Speaker of Niger State House of Assembly must with immediate effect terminate the plans to marry these girls off and see to their education and equip them with sustainable life skills.

Nigerians must continue to demand an end to the oppression of women and girls in the country.

Omolola Pedro,
Head, Gender Department
Take It Back Movement.


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