Court stops cleric’s forced marriage to Teenager

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A 16-year old secondary school pupil (names withheld) has been reunited with her parents after an Akure Family Court stopped her forced marriage to an Islamic cleric identified as Alhaji Yusuf Lateef. The court presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, ordered the return of the girl to her family for proper care and education and warned Lateef to stay away from her. Lateef was to make the teenager who was 15 in 2019 his 9th wife.

It was gathered that Lateef had approached the girl’s parents and sought her hand in marriage in 2019. Despite protest by the teenager, her parents forced her to accept the proposal and a day was fixed for the marriage.

The teenager fled their Ore home on the day fixed for the marriage with support from her brother to Akure, the state capital. She was said to have gone to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development where she was sheltered and legal works began to stop the marriage. Lateef and the girl’s parents were arraigned at the Family Court for breaching Part 3 of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.

After hearing from the defendants, the court ruled that the girl be returned to her parents and Alhaji Lateef be made to sign an undertaking to stay away from her as well as ensure no harm comes her way.

Ondo Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi, said it was victory for children in the state.

The girl said she intended to further her education as well as be a good woman in the future. She was handed back to her parents after staying away from her parents for one month and the cleric warned to stay away from her henceforth.

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