Why is Kano State the divorce capital of Nigeria?

Did you know that Kano State has the highest rate of divorce in Nigeria?

Why divorce rates are high in Kano [Vecteezy]

Every month, hundreds of marriages end in Kano, one of the most populated states in Nigeria.

A rise in divorces in the 1990s earned Kano the reputation of "divorce capital" in Nigeria. The label has endured since then.

According to a 2022 BBC investigation done in partnership with the local administration, 32% of marriages in Kano don't endure more than three to six months. Another worrying pattern was also discovered by the study: some young people, aged 20 to 25, had already experienced three marriages.

It is concerning that even with the Kano State Hisbah, an Islamic organisation supported by the state, upholding Sharia law and addressing moral issues, the state is experiencing such a high rate of separation. Its (predominately Muslim) citizens are prohibited from drinking alcohol, and a specialised police unit enforces gender segregation in public areas. The Hisbah also provides counselling services tailored to support troubled couples and save their marriages.

Kano's high divorce rate can also be attributed to early marriage. Young people rush into marriage, often even before they turn 18 years old.

Another theory is that Islam's simple divorce procedure, which allows men to only say "I divorce you" or put it in writing, has some bearing. Some people even say that statements posted on social media these days can serve as divorce decrees.

In Kano, matchmakers continue to play a vital role in marriages and relationships. It is rare for single men and women in this traditional Muslim society to meet possible husbands on their own. As a result, many of the couples these matchmakers pair up marry having known very little about one another, which creates the possibility of future issues.

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