Nigeria court rejects 'forced marriage' case

Zamfara Senator Sahabi Ya'u Zainab Isa Mayana says she has never met her husband Sahabi Ya'u

A Nigerian high court has dismissed a case brought by a 26-year-old woman who says her father forced her to marry a senator.

The judge said her human rights had not been violated and it was a matrimonial matter for an Islamic court.

Zainab Isa Mayana was married to the senator of Zamfara State, Sahabi Ya'u, 54, in July at a ceremony where she was represented by her father.

She says she has never met him and her father knew she was already engaged.

Sokoto, where the trial took place, was one of several northern states to re-introduce Sharia law after the return to democracy in 1999.

'Courageous'

The BBC's Haruna Shehu Tangaza in Sokoto says that these days forced marriages are frowned on in the predominately Muslim north of Nigeria.

People have generally supported Ms Mayana and she has been seen as courageous in bringing the case against her father and Senator Ya'u, he says.

Judge Isiyaku Mohammed said under the constitution, the federal court could not intervene in the affairs of an Islamic court.

Ms Mayana was not in court for the ruling, but her lawyers told the BBC they would not relent in their efforts to dissolve the marriage as she was not married to a man of her choice.

They said they would file a new case at "an appropriate court", which by implication would be an Islamic court, our reporter says.

Ms Mayana, who is studying at Ahmadu Bello University, says she has been engaged to another man for five years.

Senator Ya'u was already married before his wedding to Ms Mayana in July, although it is not known exactly how many wives he has, our correspondent says.

Under Islamic law, a man can take up to four spouses.

More on This Story

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites

More Africa stories

RSS

Features

  • The OfficeIn pictures

    Fifty landmark shows from 50 years of BBC Two


  • French luxury Tea House, Mariage Freres display of tea pots Tea for tu

    France falls back in love with tea - but don't expect a British cuppa


  • Worcestershire flagFlying the flag

    Preserving the identities of England's counties


  • Female model's bottom in leopard skin trousers as she walks up the catwalkBum deal

    Why budget buttock ops can be bad for your health


  • Two women in  JohanesburgYour pictures

    Readers' photos on the theme of South Africa


BBC © 2014 The BBC is not responsible for the content of external sites. Read more.

This page is best viewed in an up-to-date web browser with style sheets (CSS) enabled. While you will be able to view the content of this page in your current browser, you will not be able to get the full visual experience. Please consider upgrading your browser software or enabling style sheets (CSS) if you are able to do so.