Marriage Divorce: An increasing menace in Northern Nigeria

By Muhammad Sani Abdulhamid.

The alarming explosion of divorce in our present times is a cause of great concern. In fact, the divorce rate in Northern Nigeria is high and this is disturbing. The mention of the word (Talaq) divorce has now become so cheap that in some marriages, every argument features this word, either the husband threatens with it or the wife demands it. Hence, women are married and divorced at will for minor reasons.

The article attempts to highlight some of the causes of rampant divorces and its negative impact on Muslim women in the northern part of Nigeria. Some Shari’ah court cases were also examined in order to find out whether the Judiciary is invulnerable to the problem of divorce among Muslim women in Northern Nigeria.

Marriage being a union is found to be characterized by certain demands and expectations on the part of the couple. In addition, such demands and expectations affect issue like loyalty in marriage, faithfulness, acceptance of responsibilities, emotional security, companionship and so on.

One may observe that, a marital relationship devoid of above factors often face a lot of problems and generate a lot of stains like marital discord, lack of emotional closeness to one’s partner, psychological separation, lack of Mutual understanding, role conflict, financial conflict, lack of effective communication, sexual conflict and unhappiness which obviously can lead to divorce.

These are however not the only factors that lead to divorce. Other reasons may also include the following;

  1. Religious differences and misunderstanding between couples.
  2. Lack of acceptance of polygamy system of marriage practice by some wives can cause divorce.
  3. Constant house quarrels, instability and excessive outings by wives can instigate divorce.
  4. Lack of devotion to religion between couples.
  5. Illiteracy and ignorance.
  6. Lack of love, affection and motivation.
  7. Communication gap, such as not domenstrating active listening skills and absence of laughter and humour between couples.
  8. Frequent travelling by husbands with little or no time for the wife.
  9. Excessive smoking and drinking of alcohol from any of the couples can also lead to marital instability and divorce.
  10. Early marriage and with little or no experience of withstanding marital challenges.
  11. Household mismanagement and frugality of resources can also be a factor that leads to divorce.
  12. Selling of food stuff by wives as they are not gainfully employed .
  13. Poverty and insufficient provision of welfare package to wives by husbands can make marriage to be broken.
  14. Excessive frugality and control of food items by husbands.
  15. Wives ambition to work and further their education against the interest of the husband.
  16. In-laws interference in the marital activities of their children.
  17. Incompatibility, barrenness, and sexual maladjustment among couples.
  18. Couples are not respecting, considering and managing the ethical value of individual difference and not showing interest in their living.
  19. Lack of mutual commitment and trust between couples.
  20. When divorce patners are not willing to make the marriage work and fulfill promises, this can instigate.

These are few but not all of the factors that influence divorce, most especially in the northern part of Nigeria, where people spend a lot of money for marriage.

I have witnessed many marriages that were broken due to one or more reasons mentioned above. It is quite unfortunate that a marriage in which millions of Naira have been spent got broken, within two months, those of 6 months, a year or two are countless which make me feel bad and continue to give me sleepless nights.

It is only in the Northern Nigeria that you will see a Man looking for N20,000 to settle his needs at home, but when he luckily get N50,000 or above, after settling his problem with N20,000, the next thing is to use the remaining balance and add another wife, making him to start looking for N40,000 to solve his problem again.

To put an end to this menace, there is need for a public enlightment to educate community members about the social, economic and health implications of divorce. This is however a collective responsibility of both government and non governmental organisations, religious leaders and other social groups.

There is the need for an extensive sensitization programme for parents, judges, traditional rulers and other stakeholders to ensure that all cases of divorce are determined through a formal institution that will ensure compliance with due process.

Rate of divorce in our community can be reduced if the factors associated with marital instabilities and divorce can effectively be controlled.

To stabilize our society, peoples’ income must be improved. This is possible by providing employment opportunities for both men and women. It is believed that the frequent misunderstanding reduces when the men and women are economically empowed.

Many at times, divorces are being subjected to so many sociological and psychological upsets, put in a bad mood by alienating them from their children, instant ejection from their matrimonial homes, if the woman is pregnant, the case of the pregnancy is at the mercy of her relatives. Given this problems, there is the need for government to empower law enforcement agencies and religious bodies to come up with strategies that will ensure strict conformity with the procedures for divorce as prescribed in the qur’an and hadith.

It is paramount to emphasize here that, a relationship builds for the sake of Allah lasts longer, while the one builds on beautifulness and other worldly things ends along the way.

Parents should stop force marriage and give their children to the ones they deserve.

Divorce is indeed a severe family disorganization and a common topic of gossip in our society. This is due to the fact that divorcees are regarded by the society as the worst people in morals, deviants and insatiable elements.

A divorced woman is regarded as bad, that a man cannot think of remarrying her within a short space of time in the same community. It is the belief of most people that once the first marriage fails, it is never easy to be successful with other subsequent marriages.

Divorce has been shown to have some socia-psychological after effects on both parents and their children. For instance Lack of parental role model or even emotional anxiety and negative attitude towards life.

The challenges and negative effects of divorce are usually much stronger on the woman and her off springs than the man. These ranges from psychological trauma, immoral behaviour, Economic hardship, denial of custody, among others.

Using descriptive and analytical methods, this article interprets Islamic teachings as enshrined in the Qur’an and Sunnah with a view to proffering Islamic solutions on them.

The views of the writer recommend among other things, that parents and intending spouses should endeavour to find out the level of Islamic knowledge, habit, character of suitors/wives to be, prior to the marriage in order to prepare adequately for a successful association.

In addition, ministries and other agencies responsible for maning the affairs of religion should play expected roles by identifying and enacting laws that will serve as a strong driver towards ending breaking homes.

To this end, all relevant bodies should join the crusade for decent and free matrimonial cases society.

The couples must also be conscious in choosing the right life partners for unconnected relationship among the two.

Happiest and peaceful families will be the last prayer from the write up.

Sani is a Practicing Journalist with Albarka Radio Bauchi and Martaba FM Online

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