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SMA gives rice palliatives to 2,000 women in Bida

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**follow up exercise continues on Sunday in Katcha, Gbako LGAs

Member Representing Bida/Gbako/Katcha Federal Constituency, in the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Saidu Musa Abdullahi, SMA (Gwarzon Nupe) has given succor of Rice palliatives to two thousand women in Bida Niger State.
The support which was flagged off at Gowon’s Lodge is an initiative targeted at the poor women, beneficiaries who were drawn from widows and other vulnerable groups in the society.i⁸
A statement by the Senior Legislative Aide (SLA) to the Reps member Dodo Mustapha quoted the chairman of the distribution Committee Alhaji Baba Suleiman to have indicated that the gesture came at a time people were in dire need of assistance.
the chairman who is also the Sarki Samari Nupe, urged other political office holders and well to do individuals to emulate thr gesture to reduce poverty.

A Member of the Distribution committee, Wakili Raya Kasan Nupe, Alhaji Mohammed Baba Ndana pointed out that the exercise was properly strategized to accommodate various groups including the blind, FOMWAN, Muslim Ummah, security operatives and others.

Some of the Beneficiaries appreciated the Lawmaker for the initiative.

Similar exercise is billed to hold for Gbako and Katcha Local Government Areas that formed the Federal Constituency on Sunday

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News from Niger State

Forum of Imams issues ultimatum for Ohannaya to withdraw threats over mass wedding

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***As cash, material donations pour in for the intending couples

The controversy surrounding the planned mass wedding of 200 girls in Niger state has taken another twist as the Council of Imams in the State has waded in giving Nigeria’s Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Ohannaya, one-week ultimatum to withdraw her comments against the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Rt Hon Abdulmalik Sarkindaji.
The speaker had consulted over his intention to sponsor the marriage of 100 girls in his Constituency for which he had the blessings of the traditional and the religious leaders
The secretary of the Imams Forum in the state, Dr. Umar Abdullahi, issued the warning while addressing journalists in Minna the state capital on Wednesday.
He said that the Minister has overstepped her boundary, and the Forum will not take it lightly as her comments are capable of causing crisis in the state and the country in general.
Recall that the Speaker of the State House of Assembly had taken the responsibility to sponsor the marriage of about 100 of the girls from his Constituency in Mariga local government area of the state.
The girls were said to have lost their parents on account of banditry in the area hence many became orphans and have no parents to foot the bill of the marriage expenses
However, the Minister dragged the Speaker to court, urging him to halt the planned wedding, alleging that the girls were being married off against their will.
But the Iman forum while addressing journalists warned the minister to stay clear from religious and cultural matters and face her ministerial assignment, insisting that no amount of court action will stop the marriage from taking place as planned for 24th of this month.
The forum threatened the minister to stand off warning her that the entire Imam’s forum in the state and the country in general to contend with if she failed to withdraw her comments on the matter and stay clear from the planned marriage which according to them has the blessing of the religious and traditional leaders of the state.
“The planned marriage has the blessing of all the religious and traditional leaders from the area. The sponsor of the marriage consulted widely before accepting to take the responsibility and we are strongly behind him.
“The girls are not under age and they are not being forced into marriage as the minister has made the public to believe. This is what the minister failed to investigate”, the forum added.
The forum therefore urged all other well to do individuals in the society to emulate the kind gesture of the speaker and render similar assistance to other intending couple in the area.
Meanwhile individual and political office holders from within and outside the state have continued to identify with the marriage as cash and material donations have continue to pour in for the success of the mass wedding.
A source close to the community told our correspondent in confidence that not less than N10million cash have been received as donations towards the marriage while an individual has donated N100,000 to each of the girls to enable them start something after the wedding as a way of empowering them.
“People from within and outside the state have continued to donate towards the wedding, and I can tell you that so far over N10million has been received and more people have pledged to support the wedding”, our source added.

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News from Niger State

Vatsa tells Women Affairs Minister, she is fighting a lost battle over marriage of 100 girls

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**Says the marriage will go ahead as planned

Former commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism and Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has advised the minister for women affairs, Uju Kennedy Ohanenye to distance herself from the sesibilities of the people as it relates to religion and culture
This is coming following the controversy over the planned sponsorship of the wedding of 100 girls in Mariga local government area of Niger State by speaker of the state assembly, Rt. Hon. Abdulmalik Sarkindaji.
The Minister had threatened legal action over the issue which is not within her purview

Vatsa said the minister is fighting a lost battle as the parents of the girls will go ahead and marry out their daughters as planned whether the speaker is involved or not, saying that the parents have the right to do so under Islamic and Hausa tradition.
The chieftain of APC reacted to the issue while briefing newsmen in Minna on Wednesday.
The former publicity secretary of APC in the state advised the minister not go into issues that she knows nothing about, stressing that “no amount of threats of court action can stop the parents from giving out their daughters in marriage after receiving the necessary supports”.
Rather than sitting in Abuja and be issuing threat of court action, Vatsa pointed out that “the minister should have done her investigation first to know if these girls have strained the age of marriage by law or if they were being forced into the marriage before going to the air to threaten the speaker who is merely offering assistance.
“You cannot just sit in an air conditioned office in Abuja and be threatening people without knowing what these orphans are going through after loosing their parents to insecurity and those whose parents cannot afford their marriage expenses even though they have attained the age for marriage.
“Does the minister have any plans for people whom she has never seen nor know their plight or is she trying to encourage prostitution in the area.
“You don’t play politics by interfering with the people’s culture and tradition moreso that these girls have suitors who want to marry them”
According to Vatsa, “as members of one political party, I had expected the minister to get in touch with the speaker and get first hand information about the whole thing and offer her advise where necessary instead of playing to the gallery and going to media to issue threats of court action.
“I am sure the speaker being a trained lawyer is not afraid of going to court. The speaker is not giving the girls out in marriage but just rendering support to the families and there is no law in Nigeria that forbid someone giving an assistance towards marriage, that is why I said the minister is fighting a lost battle”.
Vatsa disclosed that the Banditry activities across 12 local government areas of the state has produced over 5,000 orphans, widows and widowers in the state and therefore urged the minister to come to Niger state and see the sufferings of these orphans, majority of whom are girls.
He stated further that as Special Adviser on PPP to the governor, he will be happy to see the minister going beyond issuing threats of court action over marriage of these girls, and come to partner with the state government on how to empower these group of people and other vulnerable children in the state.
Vatsa therefore urged the speaker not to succumb to any threats from any quota to abandoned his people, stressing “the people will feel disappointed if you withdraw your support for them. There is a difference between supporting a marriage and giving out a girl in marriage.”
He maintained that the speaker will let his people down if he decides to back out of the whole marriage plan, adding that the welfare of his people is his primary responsibility as their representative and therefore he should be ready to sink with them.

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Emulate Fayose, submit yourself to EFCC, Vatsa tells ex-Kogi governor Bello

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From Adams Ogiji, Minna

Former commissioner for Information Culture and Tourism and Chieftain of the All Progressive Congress (APC) in Niger state, Mr. Jonathan Vatsa has advised former Kogi State Governor Yahaya Bello to immediately submit himself to anti graft agency for questioning

He adviced him to toe the part of honor as it is no longer the era of Buhari where he enjoyed Presidential cover for all his atrocities against the people for eight years.
“I want the former governor Yahaya Bello to emulate ex-Ekiti state Governor, Ayodele Fayose and submit himself to the EFCC to proof his innocence of the corruption allegation”.
The former commissioner who was reacting to the ongoing drama in Abuja between the ex-Kogi governor and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) said that “the most honorable thing for him to do is to appear before the anti graft agency to clear his name if he thinks he is innocent.
“It is sad to hear that a former governor could be jumping through the fence to escape arrest over corruption allegation. It is a huge embarrassment to the good people of Kogi State whom he ruled for eight years and the APC as a party”, he said.
The former publicity secretary of APC in Niger state pointed out that the attitude of the fleeing ex-Kogi governor has further rubbished the anti corruption war of the APC administration, stressing that “what will our APC administration tell Nigerians about its anti corruption fight now that a former governor under the party’s platform is jumping through the fence to escape arrest over corruption allegation
“Can we in all honesty said that we are better than the opposition parties in terms of corruption. This is a setback for the party.
“I expect the party to immediately suspend the former governor over this singular attitude in order to build some confidence in Nigerians and the international community over the administration’s war against corruption”.
Vatsa maintained that he least expected a person of ex-governor Bello’s character to be running away from arrest after he violently ruled over the people of Kogi State for eight years, adding that “Yahaya Bello should have known that there will be no hiding place for him after his eight years of misgovernance in Kogi State.
“The whole world watched how Aso Rock under Buhari gave him cover to unleashed terror on the people of Kogi State for eight years with monumental corruption and he thinks he will go free.
“The visa restrictions placed on him and some corrupt politicians has further compounded his woos. He must face the law, let him honorably submit himself to the EFCC”, Vatsa added.

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