Tuesday morning in Nigeria’s second largest city of Kano saw 100 widows and divorcees get another chance at love, tying the knot in one mass wedding.
Thousands of residents of the ancient city witnessed the nuptials, which was conducted by the Chief Imam of Kano Central Mosque, Professor Sani Zaharadeen, and supervised by the Emir of Kano, Ado Bayero. The event also had some notable clerics in the city in attendance.
Kano state government announced its plans to play matchmaker earlier this year, hoping to reduce the rising divorce rate in the state and provide the women with a stable home and the financial and social security that comes with marriage in the society.
The Hisbah Board, the Kano State agency that oversees social development, started a radio campaign in February calling on suitors to find a wife among the 1,000 widows and divorcees selected.
According to reports, the bachelorettes got the attention of suitors across the north. Nazifi Mohammed, 30, told the Weekly Trust that he traveled all the way from Lere in Kaduna state to find his fair bride amongst Kano’s beauties.
“When I heard of the development, I felt it was a welcome development and it came to my mind that that might be a wonderful opportunity for me to get a life partner and that is why I am here all the way from Lere with the hope of getting an obedient life partner,” Mohammed said.
He dismissed concerns of getting into an arranged marriage with a stranger, saying he is “optimistic that things will work out fine”.
There is a process before the suitor claims his bride. According to the BBC report, the Hisbah Board screens the applicants thoroughly, including testing for HIV.
Then the pairing process begins, but the woman has the final say. She may choose to turn down a suitor if he isn’t right.
The state government, the BBC reported, is responsible for paying the bride price “Kayan Daki” for the hundred brides who started new families today.
The Kayan Daki, a collection of brass and enamel bowls and decorative cups and saucers, are a symbol of her married status.
Men who marry through this programme must be committed to the union and will not be allowed to divorce the wives without the permission of the board.