Economic Hardship Cripples Kano Mass Wedding Of Over 10,000 Women
No fewer than 10,000 women registered for the kano state sponsored mass
wedding programme are now frustrated as the event has failed to commence
Director of Morality Police otherwise known as Hisbah, Ustaz Abba Sufi
said the economic situation in the state as well as the country, has made
it practically difficult to carry out the Mass Wedding ceremony.
Ustaz Abba sufi said at the moment, over 10,000 women who have registered
for the mass wedding programme and are waiting to be introduced to
Hisbah said it had arranged 4,461 marriages since the programme began in
Kano in 2012. This year records the highest number of women seeking to be
married at the Mass Wedding.
The women include divorcees and girls of marriage age registered in person
and via social media platforms we operate like facebook, twitter, whatsapp
and among the others.
The matchmaking programme began in 2012 During the Rabiu kwankwaso
Administration to help divorcees remarry in Kano state.
Under the scheme, the state government pays the bride price and provides
furniture and household utensils for the newlyweds. A total of 1,111
couples tied the knot in an elaborate event at the Kano central mosque in
Other Northern states such as Jigawa, Adamawa, Gombe Among others have
started the matchmaking programme.
Nigeria, one of Africa's main oil producers, depends on the sale of crude
for 70 percent of government revenue but income has been slashed since
prices plunged around the world two years ago.
State governments have struggled to pay public sector salary the naira has
weakened, causing a shortage of foreign exchange, hitting investment and
key imports of goods, fuel and food.
At the same time, inflation has soared to nearly 11 year highs, with
predictions of more devaluation to come and further rises in the cost of
“The cash crunch has compelled us to halt the programme in which has
resulted in a huge backlog of women intent on getting the right husbands
to marry through the matchmaking process,” mallam Abba sufi said.
Farida ABubakar Samanu, a divorced mother of four children, said she
registered to find a husband two years ago but has been frustrated because
of the lack of funding. “We are calling on the authorities to resume the
mass wedding so as to help those of us in need,” she said.
“We are not asking for too much, just the basic things we need to start a
new married life,” she said.
Widespread poverty has been blamed for the rising number of divorces in
Kano city and the surrounding state.
Kano's economy declined sharply in the 1980s because of electricity
shortages, which forced up production costs to reduced by almost 48%, high
bank lending rates and competition from cheap foreign imports. More than
400 of Kano city's 500 textile factories were forced to close, leaving
thousands jobless and creating the highest unemployment of rate of any of
Nigeria's 36 states.
The economic decline has had a direct impact on families, leading to
divorces in a mainly Muslim society where polygamy is prevalent. With no
access to education and parental care, children from broken homes have
ended up on the street, fending for themselves and also falling into crime
“I have four children and their father is unable to feed them and I am
living in my fathers house currently. We are struggling to survive and I
can't afford to provide the furniture, which is an essential provision for
marriage in our culture,” said one divorcee, who asked not to be
Another divorced named Khadijah Isma`il Abba said “I have been divorced
for five years and I so much need to remarry. I registered a year ago it's
worrisome the mass wedding has been delayed due to the economic downturn.”
The mass wedding project was seen as able to prevent Boko Haram Islamists
from recruiting affected and impoverished youths.
The north's conservative culture gives a husband absolute powers in
marriage but men have often abused it and divorced their wives at will.
Under the matchmaking project, couples can only divorce with the explicit
consent of the state government and the Hisbah. Any man who unilaterally
divorces his wife risks going to jail, according to Hisbah Management.
The security the mass wedding programme provides for the wife makes many
women prefer getting married through the programme because she knows her
husband cannot divorce her at will, said Sufi.
To resume mass weddings, the Hisbah wants funding from the private sector
and wealthy individuals to help so as to make the programme succeed in the
“But in the current climate that is proving difficult we can't allow the
programme to crash because of its immense social benefits which makes
stopping it altogether unthinkable despite the economic crunch, said Sufi.
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