News

    Northern Nigerian Widows Encouraged to Remarry

    Women activists say it seems that every day there are more and more stories of marriages collapsing in Kano State, where over a million women are divorced. But a group called the Voice of Widows, Divorcees and Orphans says it is working with the state religious police, or Hisba, to help them.

    Kano State widows and orphans attend a VOWAN workshop in Kano, Nigeria (photo courtesy of VOWAN).
    Kano State widows and orphans attend a VOWAN workshop in Kano, Nigeria (photo courtesy of VOWAN).

    Multimedia

    Audio

    Shiek Aminu Daurawa is commander at Kano State Hisba board, which enforces Islamic law in the state.  His organization works with the group called the Voice of Widows, Divorcees and Orphans of Nigeria, or VOWAN to find potential husbands.

    Daurwawa said the process is relatively simple: any man who wants to marry any of the divorcees will have to fill out a form stating his name, age, state of origin, occupation, and marital status.  He will also need to state where he stays, the number of children, if any, his health status, the complexion and overall appearance of the divorcee, and reasons for wanting to marry.

    The form requires a passport photo, and the signature of three witnesses, one of whom must be the head of a neighborhood ward. They must attest to the applicant’s good conduct and his ability to support a family.

    Daurawa said if there is a match, the couple will arrange to meet each other and to discuss issues of mutual interest.

    A divorcee trained as a tailor receives a sewing machine as a gift from the Directorate of Employment in Kano. (photo courtesy of VOWAN)
    A divorcee trained as a tailor receives a sewing machine as a gift from the Directorate of Employment in Kano. (photo courtesy of VOWAN)

    If they want to go ahead and marry, they will inform marriage counsellors at the board and assure them in writing that the decision was made without undue influence or duress.

    He said this is so because in Islam there is no compulsion in marriage for either the man or woman.

    Daurawa said after the board grants its approval, the couple will choose the date and place they’ll be married, which could include the mosque or even the Hisba board.

    After the marriage, the Hisba board will visit their home every three months to find out how the couple are faring and give advice when necessary.

    Daurawa said the board is also working to set rules that make divorce difficult. For instance, if a couple has children and the husband calls for a legal end to the marriage, he may have to vacate the house and pay a large monthly alimony.

    Hisba and its partner VOWAN – the Voice of Widows, Divorcees and Orphans of Nigeria -- see the project as a success.

    But it’s not the only effort sponsored by the women’s group to improve the lives of Muslim women in the region.

    Today, VOWAN’s executive director Hajia Atine Abdullahi Abdullahi is in her office along busy Maiduguri road in Kano State’s Tarauni Local Government area.

    A large number of women have come to seek assistance in one form or the other.

    VOWAN's president Atine Abdullahi (photo courtesy of VOWAN)
    VOWAN's president Atine Abdullahi (photo courtesy of VOWAN)

    She said women have many problems, the most important of which is a lack of education. As a result, if they get divorced, they have hardly any skills to earn a living.  She says women have been relegated to the background in northen Nigeria for a long time now.

    Abdullahi said that’s why she formed the association, which started in a mosque during the 2003 Ramadan [fasting] period.

    Presently, the it has over 800,000 registered members in Kano State.

    She said her group partners with the Directorate of Employment to offer skills training to the women.  They can choose to learn a number of trades, including hair dressing, tailoring and knitting, interior decoration, video coverage, and carpentry.

    Abdullahi said over 500 members have graduated from such vocational training programs and have set up their own small scale businesses from credit facilities provided by the effort.

    Mallama Khadija Sani is mother of two and a divorcee. She lives in Ungwa Uku section of Tarauni local Government Area of Kano with her children.

    Khadija said she registered and was trained as a hairdresser. After the training, she got a loan of N150,000;00--about $1000 US--to start a hair salon.

    The business is paying her bills and she is living comfortably, but she still wants to marry again.

    Atine Abdullahi said Khadija’s issue and that for many other divorcees is a big concern. Marriage seems to have been neglected. Divorce is on the increase.  She said men just divorce their wife or wives, leaving them with children and not worrying about how she will care for them. Divorcees are left with the burden of raising the children and are totally neglected by their ex-husbands.

    Many husbands do not pay alimony.  As a result, many single-parent homes headed by divorced women barely make ends meet. She said the situation makes it hard for many women to raise children, who without adequate support or parental supervision, risk becoming – as she puts it – miscreants or prostitutes in an effort to survive.

    According to the Inter-Press Service, a study conducted by Kano State’s attorney general in 2006 Kano State's justice ministry found that over 80 percent of marriages in the state were not stable.

    The report attributed the problem in part to a failure of the couple to communicate and the failure of husbands to allow their wives to finish their education.

    This forum has been closed.
    Comments
         
    There are no comments in this forum. Be first and add one

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Filli
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 11, 2016 8:01 PM
    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video As Refugees Perish, Greek Graveyards Fill

    Aid workers on the Greek island of Lesbos say they are struggling to bury the increasing number of bodies of refugees that have been recovered or washed up ashore in recent months.  The graveyards are all full, they say, yet as tens of thousands of people clamor to get out of Syria, it is clear refugees will still be coming in record numbers. For VOA, Hamada Elrasam reports from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video To Fight Zika, Scientists Target Mosquitoes

    Mosquitoes strike again. The Zika virus outbreak is just the latest headline-grabbing epidemic carried by these biting pests, but researchers are fighting back with new ways to control them. VOA's Steve Baragona takes a look.
    Video

    Video Mosul Refugees Talk About Life Under IS

    A top U.S. intelligence official told Congress this week that a planned Iraqi-led operation to re-take the city of Mosul from Islamic State militants is unlikely to take place this year. IS took over the city in June 2014, and for the past year and a half, Mosul residents have been held captive under its rule. VOA's Zana Omar talked to some families who managed to escape. Bronwyn Benito narrates his report.
    Video

    Video Scientists Make Progress Toward Better Diabetes Treatment, Cure

    Scientists at two of the top U.S. universities say they have made significant advances in their quest to find a more efficient treatment for diabetes and eventually a cure. According to the International Diabetes Federation, the disease affects more than 370 million people worldwide. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video NATO to Target Migrant Smugglers

    NATO has announced plans to send warships to the Aegean Sea to target migrant smugglers in the alliance's most direct intervention so far since a wave of people began trying to reach European shores.
    Video

    Video Russia's Catholics, Orthodox Hopeful on Historic Pope-Patriarch Meeting

    Russia's Catholic minority has welcomed an historic first meeting Friday in Cuba between the Pope and the Patriarch of Russia's dominant Orthodox Church. The Orthodox Church split with Rome in 1054 and analysts say politics, both church and state, have been driving the relationship in the centuries since. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.
    Video

    Video Used Books Get a New Life on the Streets of Lagos

    Used booksellers are importing books from abroad and selling them on the streets of Africa's largest city. What‘s popular with readers may surprise you. Chris Stein reports from Lagos.
    Video

    Video After NH Primaries All Eyes on South Carolina

    After Tuesday's primary in New Hampshire, US presidential candidates swiftly turned to the next election coming up in South Carolina. The so-called “first-in-the-South” poll may help further narrow down the field of candidates. Zlatica Hoke reports.
    Video

    Video US Co-ed Selective Service Plan Stirs Controversy

    Young women may soon be required to register with the U.S. Selective Service System, the U.S. government agency charged with implementing a draft in a national emergency. Top Army and Marine Corps commanders told the Senate Armed Services Committee recently that women should register, and a bill has been introduced in Congress requiring eligible women to sign up for the military draft. The issue is stirring some controversy, as VOA’s Bernard Shusman reports from New York.
    Video

    Video Lessons Learned From Ebola Might Help Fight Zika

    Now that the Ebola epidemic has ended in West Africa, Zika has the world's focus. And, as Carol Pearson reports, health experts and governments are applying some of the lessons learned during the Ebola crisis in Africa to fight the Zika virus in Latin America and the Caribbean.
    Video

    Video Smartphone Helps Grow Vegetables

    One day, you may be using your smartphone to grow your vegetables. A Taipei-based company has developed a farm cube — a small, enclosed ecosystem designed to grow plants indoors. The environment inside is automatically adjusted by the cube, but it can also be controlled through an app. VOA's Deborah Block has more on the gardening system.
    Video

    Video Illinois Voters Have Mixed Emotions on Obama’s Return to Springfield

    On the ninth anniversary of the launch of his quest for national office, President Barack Obama returned to Springfield, Illinois, to speak to the Illinois General Assembly, where he once served as state senator. His visit was met with mixed emotions by those with a front-row seat on his journey to the White House. VOA's Kane Farabaugh reports.
    Video

    Video Exhibit Turns da Vinci’s Drawings Into Real Objects

    In addition to being a successful artist, Renaissance genius Leonardo da Vinci designed many practical machines, some of which are still in use today, although in different forms. But a number of his projects were never realized — until today. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Heated Immigration Debate Limits Britain’s Refugee Response

    Compared to many other European states, Britain has agreed to accept a relatively small number of Syrian refugees. Just over a thousand have arrived so far -- and some are being resettled in remote corners of the country. Henry Ridgwell reports on why Britain’s response has lagged behind its neighbors.
    Video

    Video Russia's Car Sales Shrink Overall, But Luxury and Economy Models See Growth

    Car sales in Russia dropped by more than a third in 2015 because of the country's economic woes. But, at the extreme ends of the car market, luxury vehicles and some economy brands are actually experiencing growth. VOA's Daniel Schearf reports from Moscow.