A family court in Ondo State, south-western Nigeria has stopped a Muslim cleric Alhaji Yusuf Lateef, from taking a 16-year-old girl as his 9th wife.
The court presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye of a Family court in Akure, tje state capital ruled against the marriage thereby setting the teenager free.
According to reports, the Muslim cleric had requested to marry the girl after a meeting with her parents last year.
The young girl’s parents agreed to the proposal and a date was fixed for the marriage ceremony amid protests from her
The teenager fled their home on the day fixed for the wedding with support from her elder brother who was also vehemently against the marriage.
She ended up at the state’s Commission of Women Affairs and Social Development to report her parents forced marriage on her. She was sheltered and legal works began to stop the marriage.
The cleric and the girl’s parents were put before the Family Court for breaching Part 3 of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law which prohibits early and forced marriages.
The court ruled that the girl must be returned to her parents, and Alhaji Lateef made to sign an undertaking to stay away from the teenager as well as ensure no harm comes near her.
The state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi, said the teenager has been returned to her parents while the Muslim cleric has been warned to stay away from her.
She also added the commission will be in constant touch with the teenager to ensure her safety and well-being. She also advised parents to stop giving their daughters up for marriage at an early age.
“We are excited the matter has gone that way. That will be a warning to everybody that it is no to child marriage in Ondo State. Child marriage is denying a child her future. We must make sure we work for the child to realise her future.”