Nigerian State Playing Matchmaker for Thousands

Seeks to remedy apparently soaring divorce rate
By Matt Cantor,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2012 7:37 AM CDT
Nigerian State Playing Matchmaker for Thousands
Muhammad Tukur, a 75 year-old prospective suitor, waits to be called in for a meeting with a screening panel.   (Getty Images)

Nigeria's Kano state is worried: The number of divorces appears to be skyrocketing. And a divorced woman there faces a raft of problems—she may be shunned, in some cases forced to beg or prostitute herself to support her family. So the state government is taking the matter into its own hands: It's working to find husbands for 1,000 divorcees and widows, the Los Angeles Times reports. Some 2,000 men have applied for the program, which covers wedding expenses and provides a way around negotiating with future in-laws.

The men do, however, have to pay a small "bride price"—at least a gram of gold. Men and women must undergo medical testing and report on their social standing, education, and interests. The high divorce rate may be linked to sharia law, which allows men to leave their wives by saying "I divorce you" three times. That's led to some impulsive decisions that are later regretted, locals say. A local writer says the plan won't fix anything: "The cycle continues, with women in and out of the homes and beds of men who can discard them as quickly as it takes to say talaq," or divorce, she says. Click for the Times' full article. (More Nigeria stories.)

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