Trojan News :: Real Time News


Nigeria Probes Attempted Mass Marriage Of Orphaned Girls

THE Federal Ministry of Women Affairs in Nigeria has launched an investigation into a controversial plan by a lawmaker in central Niger State to marry off about 100 female orphans later this month, amid widespread condemnation and public outcry.

Speaker of the Niger State Assembly, Abdulmalik Sarkin-Daji, had announced the proposed mass wedding last week but subsequently cancelled the ceremony following strong objections from various quarters.

Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, expressed strong disapproval of the plan during a press briefing in Abuja on Tuesday. She emphasised the ministry’s commitment to safeguarding the rights and well-being of vulnerable individuals, particularly orphaned girls.


‘This is totally unacceptable by the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and by the government of Nigeria,’ Kennedy-Ohanenye declared.

She further disclosed that the ministry had taken legal action by petitioning the police and initiating a lawsuit to halt the marriages temporarily. The investigation aims to ascertain the ages of the orphans and whether they have given consent to the proposed unions.

The mass wedding, which was scheduled for May 24, was intended to provide support to orphans whose families were victims of attacks by armed bandits, according to Sarkin-Daji. The initiative was reportedly in response to appeals for wedding funding from local traditional and religious leaders.

However, following the public outcry and the ministry’s intervention, Sarkin-Daji reversed his stance on the mass marriage, stating, ‘That support I intend to give for the marriage of those orphans, I’m withdrawing it.’

Forced or arranged marriages persist in Nigeria despite national laws prohibiting them, particularly in rural communities in the predominantly Muslim north where cultural norms and religious practices often favour such unions, including polygamy.

Raquel Kasham Daniel, a survivor of attempted forced marriage and founder of a nonprofit supporting underprivileged girls’ education, emphasised the critical role of education in empowering girls to make informed decisions about their lives.

‘Education not only increases our awareness as girls about our rights but also enhances our prospects for higher income earning,’  Daniel told VOA,  advocating for greater access to quality education to combat child marriage and promote gender equality.

According to Girls Not Brides, the global partnership advocating for an end to child marriage, approximately 30 percent of girls in Nigeria are married before the age of 18, highlighting the urgent need for sustained efforts to protect children’s rights and eliminate harmful practices like child marriage.

About The Author