Beneficiaries of Niger speaker’s planned mass marriage open up amid controversy

Some of the proposed beneficiaries of the mass wedding championed by Niger State speaker, Barrister Abdulmalik Sarkindaji, have said that they are not underaged brides as reported by a section of the media.

Politics Nigeria reports that news about the proposed mass wedding for 100 girls in the speaker’s constituency has continued to generate mixed reactions from Nigerians and Islamic religious leaders in the country.

But according to some of the, they had planned to get married for a long time but lacked funds for the wedding due to the death of their parents.

One of the intending brides, Hussaina Abdullahi, said she is 21 years old and was not being forced into any marriage as she decided to get married by herself.

Ms Abdullahi stressed that she had desired marriage since she was 19 but her parents were killed by bandits and that halted her wedding plans.

“I am not being forced into this marriage. I decided on my own to get married. I already have someone I want to get married to. So when they said we should submit names, I presented him and submitted my name,” Hussaina told TheNation.

“My parents are dead. They were killed in different bandits attacks in our community, and that is why there were no funds to conduct the ceremony, which is why we delayed it till today,” she added.

Another intending bride, twenty-year- old Habiba Mohammed, who also lost her parents to bandits attacks, said she was not forced into the marriage arrangement.

“Many of the girls who came forward to submit their names lost their parents to banditry and have been trying to do petty trading to help themselves,” she said.

“Many of us are already into relationships and we were saving money for our marriage,” she said.

A parent to one of the would-be-brides, Amina Umar, said her daughter is already 23 years old and has been worried about getting married since their girls usually get married at 18 years.

She lamented that lack of financial support led to the delay in her daughter getting married.

“I thank God and the Speaker, who decided to sponsor this event in partnership with other well to do individuals. Since the father of my children was killed by bandits, we have been planning to get them married but could not,” she said.

“My daughter is already 23 years old, and based on our customs, we get them married between the ages of 18 and 19, but lack of funds and the liabilities we have taking care of the family stopped us from getting her married early.

“It isn’t that she does not have a spouse. We had no money to fund the wedding. We eventually got succour through this intervention.

“We thank and appreciate them for this. We are not the only ones who benefitted. There are others too in similar situations.”

Meanwhile, the district head of Kudun Mariga in Mariga Local Government Area, Shehu Iliyasu Mariga, said that underage marriage is not allowed in the local government area.

According to him, any parent who engages in underage marriage would be reported to the Emir of Kontagora.

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