Protests Erupt Over Plan to Marry Off Orphans, Underage Girls - Beyond Boders

Protests Erupt Over Plan to Marry Off Orphans, Underage Girls

Plans for a big wedding involving around 100 parentless kids, some believed to be too young, have angered many across Nigeria.

Beyond Boders reports that people are worried about child marriage and the kids being taken advantage of.

The event, set for May 24 in Niger state, has caused a stir. The orphans whose folks were lost to attacks by armed bandits, are being pushed into marriage with the backing of the Speaker of the Niger State Assembly and local religious leaders.

On the flip side, Nigeria’s Women’s Affairs Minister, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, has stepped in, asking a court to halt the wedding. She is worried about the girls’ ages and if they really want this.

Minister Kennedy-Ohanenye said these girls “deserve better.” Her team is checking the details about these 100 girls; their ages and if they agree to this wedding.

She is also planning to provide them education and training, warning that anyone trying to stop these efforts will face a serious legal fight.

Abiodun Essiet, a top aide to the president, agreed with the minister, as he wants everyone to avoid making policies that hurt vulnerable people and keep them poor and ignorant.

Moreover, activists are rallying to stop the wedding, with over 10,500 people signing a petition by Friday night.

An international group, Girls Not Brides, says 30% of girls and 1.6% of boys in Nigeria marry before they turn 18, and 12% of girls even before they are 15.

Child marriage is common in Northern Nigeria due to religious and cultural beliefs like having multiple spouses.

Some see it as a way to ease financial burdens or build social and political connections, but critics say it only keeps poverty, ignorance, and exploitation going.

The uproar over this big wedding has sparked a big talk across Nigeria about child marriage and the need to protect those who are vulnerable.

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