Polygamy struggles: The impact of forced plural marriages on women

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For Maimunat, her beloved husband, whom she had been with for 18 years, recently married a woman nearly half her age.

Maimunat’s beloved husband, whom she had been with for 18 years, recently married a woman nearly half her age. She struggles with the reality of sharing her husband with a total stranger.

Confused about how to deal with the situation, Maimunat sought advice from Integrated Orphan and Vulnerable Children Development Extensive . It’s a community-based organisation, established in 2022 in Minna, Niger state an caters to marginalised women and vulnerable children under one roof. In Northern Nigeria, which is predominantly Muslim, polygamy is increasingly common. Under Islamic law, a man is permitted to marry up to four wives.

It is interesting to note, though, that the orphaned brides are referred to as “girls” rather than “women” in all accounts about the mass wedding. Nearly 15 million girls worldwide are married off at an early age, limiting their access to educational opportunities, and economic empowerment.Some of the girls are married off to men who already have several wives. Saleh said that the gesture was part of the government’s efforts to support the state’s poor and vulnerable people.

In his own submission, Kenneth Nnaji, a gender inclusion advocate, said: “We all know how religious and cultural elements have historically been complicit in the opposition to women’s economic empowerment and gender equality.” Legal practitioner Mercy Joshua also affirmed that customary laws are recognised in Nigeria which is why some cultures that engage in it can’t protest the forceful marriage of women into polygamy.Joshua revealed that the Marriage Act of 1914 protects women from being forced into polygamy.

For Muslim women being forced to accept polygamy in marriages, she said: “The women willingly subject themselves to law and same regulates their marriages. So, we can’t say they are being forced into polygamy.” “The only law that disallows polygamy, as long as the marriage subsists, is the Marriage Act,” Joshua stated.

May Yul-Edochie, an estranged wife to the embattled Nigerian actor, Yul Edochie, is one woman who refused to be cajoled into polygamy. The mother of four, who was married under the Marriage Act, informed Yul—who had fathered a child with his second wife—that she would not consent to a polygamous marriage, as she subsequently filed for divorce.

Content retrieved from: https://headtopics.com/ng/polygamy-struggles-the-impact-of-forced-plural-marriages-55534663.

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