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.
    Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolatei
    X
    July 29, 2016 4:02 PM
    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Ivorian Chocolate Makers Promote Locally-made Chocolate

    Ivory Coast is the world's top producer of cocoa but hardly any of it is processed into chocolate there. Instead, the cocoa is sent abroad to chocolate makers in Europe and elsewhere. This is a general problem throughout Africa – massive exports of raw materials but few finished goods. As Emilie Iob reports from Abidjan, several Ivorian entrepreneurs are working to change that formula - 100 percent Ivorian chocolate bar at a time.
    Video

    Video Tesla Opens Battery-Producing Gigafactory

    Two years after starting to produce electric cars, U.S. car maker Tesla Motors has opened the first part of its huge battery manufacturing plant, which will eventually cover more than a square kilometer. Situated close to Reno, Nevada, the so-called Gigafactory will eventually produce more lithium-ion batteries than were made worldwide in 2013. VOA's George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Polio-affected Afghan Student Fulfilling Her Dreams in America

    Afghanistan is one of only two countries in the world where children still get infected by polio. The other is Pakistan. Mahbooba Akhtarzada who is from Afghanistan, was disabled by polio, but has managed to overcome the obstacles caused by this crippling disease. VOA's Zheela Nasari caught up with Akhtarzada and brings us this report narrated by Bronwyn Benito.
    Video

    Video Hillary Clinton Promises to Build a 'Better Tomorrow'

    Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton urged voters Thursday not to give in to the politics of fear. She vowed to unite the country and move it forward if elected in November. Clinton formally accepted the Democratic Party's nomination at its national convention in Philadelphia. VOA national correspondent Jim Malone has more.
    Video

    Video Trump Tones Down Praise for Russia

    Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump is toning down his compliments for Russia and Vladimir Putin as such rhetoric got him in trouble recently. After calling on Russia to find 30.000 missing emails from rival Hillary Clinton, Trump told reporters he doesn't know Putin and never called him a great leader, just one who's better than President Barack Obama. Putin has welcomed Trump's overtures, but, as Zlatica Hoke reports, ordinary Russians say they are not putting much faith in Trump.
    Video

    Video Uganda Unveils its First Solar-powered Bus

    A solar-powered bus described by its Ugandan makers as the first in Africa has made its public debut. Kiira Motors' electric bus, Kayoola, displayed recently at a stadium in Uganda's capital. From Kampala, Maurice Magorane filed this report narrated by Salem Solomon.
    Video

    Video Silicon Valley: More Than A Place, It's a Culture

    Silicon Valley is a technology powerhouse and a place that companies such as Google, Facebook and Apple call home. It is a region in northern California that stretches from San Francisco to San Jose. But, more than that, it's known for its startup culture. VOA's Elizabeth Lee went inside one company to find out what it's like to work in a startup.
    Video

    Video Immigrant Delegate Marvels at Democratic Process

    It’s been a bitter and divisive election season – but first time Indian-American delegate Dr. Shashi Gupta headed to the Democratic National Convention with a sense of hope. VOA’s Katherine Gypson followed this immigrant with the love of U.S. politics all the way to Philadelphia.
    Video

    Video Dutch Entrepreneurs Turn Rainwater Into Beer

    June has been recorded as one of the wettest months in more than a century in many parts of Europe. To a group of entrepreneurs in Amsterdam the rain came as a blessing, as they used the extra water to brew beer. Serginho Roosblad has more to the story.
    Video

    Video Commerce Thrives on US-Mexico Border

    At the Democratic Convention in Philadelphia this week, the party’s presumptive presidential nominee, Hillary Clinton, is expected to attack proposals made by her opponent, Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump, to build a wall along the U.S.-Mexico border. Last Friday, President Barack Obama hosted his Mexican counterpart, President Enrique Peña Nieto, to underscore the good relations between the two countries. VOA’s Greg Flakus reports from Tucson.
    Video

    Video Film Helps Save Ethiopian Children Thought to be Cursed

    'Omo Child' looks at effort of African man to stop killings of ‘mingi’ children
    Video

    Video London’s Financial Crown at Risk as Rivals Eye Brexit Opportunities

    By most measures, London rivals New York as the only true global financial center. But Britain’s vote to leave the European Union – so-called ‘Brexit’ – means the city could lose its right to sell services tariff-free across the bloc, risking its position as Europe’s financial headquarters. Already some banks have said they may shift operations to the mainland. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.

    Special Report

    Adrift The Invisible African Diaspora