A 17-year-old girl who
The teenager, Fatima Baba, who was forced by her parent to marry Salihu Mohammed, a resident of Shaba Legbo village in Gbako Local Government Area of the state, told the Agency that she was not in love with her husband and instead, wants to go back to school.
“I was given in marriage to Salihu by my family who thought I will have a better life with him. I do not want this marriage; I do not love this man. I want a divorce because I want to go to school and it is only when I am divorced that I can return to school,” Baba pleaded.
However, Mohammed, in his response, said that he married his wife legally and with the consent of her family.
He added that her uncle, Salihu Mustapha, gave her to him in marriage after she consented to marry him.
“At first, my wife was happy with the marriage until she suddenly changed her mind and opted for a divorce.
I still love my wife and I want to spend my life with her, but if she wants a divorce, I have no objection. I cannot force her to remain in the union,” he reportedly said.
The District Head of Shaba Legbo, Halilu Shaba, who frowned at the prevalence of forced marriages in the district, told the agency that parents in the community were fond of forcing their children into early marriage.
“Some also send their children to become housemaids, thereby denying them the opportunity to go to school,” Shaba said.
The Director-General of the agency, Maryam Kolo, commended Baba for the courage to seek for divorce and gave both families a two-week ultimatum within which to dissolve the marriage.
“If you fail to do so within the two weeks, the agency will file for divorce on behalf of the girl in a Sharia Court,” she said.
Kolo warned parents and community leaders against forcing children into early marriage thereby denying them the opportunity to acquire western education.
She added that early marriage had many disadvantages including the risk of Vesico Vaginal Fistula (VVF) diseases, advising other girls to emulate Fatima’s bravery and report similar matters to the agency.