An Akure family court has stopped a forced marriage between a 16-year-old girl and an Islamic cleric.
The cleric is identified as Alhaji Yusuf Lateef, and the court was presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye.
The court ordered the return of the girl to her family for proper care and education, giving a stern warning to Lateef to keep his distance. The teenager was to become his ninth wife.
It was gathered that Lateef had approached the girl’s parents, seeking her hand in marriage last year.
Ignoring their daughter’s protests, her parents had forced her to accept the proposal and a date was fixed for the union.
The girl fled their Ore home on the date picked for the marriage with support from her brother in Akure.
She was said to have gone to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development where she was given shelter, and legal works began to put a stop to the marriage.
The girl’s parents and Lateef were arraigned at the Family Court for breaching Part 3 of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.
After hearing what the defendants had to say, the court gave the ruling 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, hailed the court’s decision, calling it a victory for the children in the state.
The teenage girl said she intended to further her study and become a good woman in the future.
She was handed back to her parents after being away from them for one month.
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