An Islamic cleric known as Alhaji Yusuf Lateef has been denied by a court in Akure, Ondo state for the right to marry a 16-year-old secondary school girl as his ninth wife.
News reporters gathered that the Islamic cleric had made advances in 2019 to marry the young child by approaching her family and putting pressure on them to accept his offer of marriage to their girl child, of which they bent to his will and accepted, a date of 16th April 2020 was then fixed for the wedding ceremony.
However, the girl was not in support herself and so left her parents house as the preparations ensued for her wedding and sought refuge in the Ondo State Ministry of women affairs and social development in Akure. The ministry, after investigations called the Islamic cleric, Alhaji Lateef and the girl’s parents in for questioning.
They were then summoned before a family court in the state for breaching part 3 of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.
The court then made a ruling and ordered the girl to return to her parents without any marriage taking place with her, asking the parents to continue training her in education, also ruling that the cleric Alhaji Lateef should sign an undertaking saying he will stay away from the girl as well as ensuring no harm comes to her.
Mrs Titilola Adeyemi who is the state’s Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development condemned the actions of the Islamic cleric and the girl’s parents in trying to force her into marriage, saying the act was as if she was being denied a chance at a future and education like girls her age deserve.