Nigerian state pays $829,000 as dowry for 1,500 brides to ‘curb prostitution’

BrideAs part of moves to curtail the problems associated with the increasing number of unmarried youths in the Nigerian state of Kano, the state government has spent over N300 million (about $830,000) on a mass wedding for 1,500 couples in the state.

The marriage, which is a series of many other mass weddings planned by religious authorities in Kano and sponsored by the state government, is to enable couples to have stable homes, as well as, financial and social security.

An earlier statement by Abba Anwar, the chief press secretary to the Governor of Kano, Abdullahi Ganduje, said the couples went through various stages of screening, including medical tests before they got to the final wedding stage.

The statement said N20,000 (about 55 dollars) would be given by the state government as dowry for every bride, amounting to N30 million ($82,000) for the 1,500 couples.

“While dowry would be paid, it is also part of the magnanimous engagement by the state government that complete sets of beds, side mirrors, wardrobes and mattresses would all be provided to each couple.

“A complete set of cushion chairs would also be given to each and every couple, which includes 3-Seater chair and other side chairs. Window blinds and plastic carpet will also be provided,” the statement read.

“New clothing materials, popularly called ‘Shadda’ would be provided for all the would-be husbands, so that they appear as happily wedded grooms, showcasing their happiness to families, friends and well-wishers,’’ it added.

Sunday’s wedding prayer, which was conducted by the Chief Imam of Kano, Prof. Sani Zahradeen, was presided over by the Emir of Kano, Muhammadu Sanusi II and the state governor, Ganduje at the Kano Central Mosque.‎

The governor urged the newly-weds, who are from the 44 local government areas of the state, to uphold the trust reposed in them by the state government while calling on wealthy individuals to assist the state in its efforts, reports Pulse Nigeria.

The Kano State Government had, on December 12, 2018, set up a 23-member committee on a state-sponsored wedding of 3,000 widows, divorcees and spinsters in the state.

The committee, which is being headed by Prof Sani Zaharaddeen, was mandated to select and screen eligible beneficiaries across the 44 local government areas of the state.

The committee was also directed to select 3,000 prospective couples, organise and conduct the mass wedding ceremony, according to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN).

In February, this year, no fewer than 8,000 prospective couples, including divorcees, widows and spinsters, showed up for screening to participate in the state-sponsored mass wedding.

State officials said they believed the programme would help check prostitution, particularly, among destitute unmarried young girls and widows.

In April, the Kano government married off 100 widows and divorced women in a mass wedding ceremony held in the Emir’s palace. The marriage is the first batch in a series of mass weddings planned by religious authorities and the Kano state government to reduce the number of women, widowed or divorced, who had been left to take care of themselves and their children.

The bride prices of the 100 women were paid for by a local businessman while the Kano state government sponsored the women with N15,000 ($42) to set up small businesses.

The brides’ “kayan daki” – a collection of brass, enamel bowls, decorative cups and saucers – that symbolizes the woman’s married status, was also paid for by the state government.

The women chose their grooms through a matchmaking game organized by the Hisbah. A total of 1,000 couples are to wed in the ceremonies, planned in ten batches.

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