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BY Francis Akhalbey, 8:30am May 11, 2023,

Nigerian father sued by daughter over forced marriage

A Nigerian woman has sued her father over forced marriage

A 20-year-old Nigerian woman, claiming she’s being forced to marry someone she doesn’t know, has taken her father to court over the issue. According to BBC, Fatima Aliyu sued her father in an attempt to block the forced marriage. 

During an appearance before a Sharia (Islamic) court in the northern state of Kaduna, Fatima’s lawyer said the 20-year-old is already in love with a different person. The lawyer also pointed out that his client taking her father to court over the issue wasn’t a sign of disrespect.

Fatima’s father informed the court that the groom in question was chosen for his daughter by his late parents, adding that he wanted to honor their wishes since they are no more. 

The judge who presided over the case, however, ruled that forced marriage isn’t something that is entertained – though there is nothing wrong with Fatima’s father choosing a groom for her. The judge also urged Fatima’s father to exercise patience with her.

“Allow her to present the person she wants to marry and if you are pleased with his religion and character, you allow her to get married,” the judge reportedly said.

As previously reported by Face2Face Africa, forced marriages are illegal in Nigeria and punishable by a seven-year jail term. In 2021, a 19-year-old Nigerian woman who was reportedly forced into marriage allegedly stabbed her 35-year-old husband to death after he refused to honor her request for a divorce. The fatal incident is said to have happened three weeks after she was forced to marry the deceased man.

Per The East African, the incident happened at a village in Adamawa State. The woman, identified as Rumasa’u Muhammed, was reportedly forced by her parents to marry the deceased man, Muhammed Adamu.

However, weeks after the forced marriage, Rumasa’u told her husband she wasn’t interested in their union and asked for a divorce. The man, however, declined Rumasa’u’s request, causing her to allegedly stab him to death. Adamu was later pronounced dead at a hospital.

Rumasa’u was subsequently arrested and charged in connection with the killing. Responding to the fatal incident at the time, Adamawa State Police Command spokesperson, Sulaiman Nguroje, said that though forced marriages were wrong and becoming a trend, Rumasa’u would still be made to answer her case before the court to prevent others from also taking the law into their own hands.

An Islamic scholar who spoke to The East African said, the religion doesn’t condone forced marriages. Though parents may have significant input over the marriage process, he reiterated that Islam does not permit forced unions.

Last Edited by:Annie-Flora Mills Updated: May 11, 2023


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