An Akure family court in Ondo state presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, has stopped a Muslim cleric, Alhaji Yusuf Lateef, from taking a 16-year-old girl as his 9th wife.
Reports say Lateef had approached the parents of the girl in 2019 when she was 15 to seek her hand in marriage. Despite protests by the teenager, her parents forced her to accept the proposal, and a day was fixed for the wedding. The teenager fled their Ore home on the day fixed for the wedding with support from her brother to Akure, the state capital.
She was said to have gone to the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development to report her parents. She was sheltered and legal works began to stop the marriage. Alhaji Lateef and the girl’s parents were arraigned at the Family Court for breaching Part three of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.
On Friday May 22, judgment was delivered. The court ruled that the girl must 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 near her.
While reacting to the court judgment, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi, said the teenager has been returned to her parents while the Muslim cleric has been warned to stay away from her.
“We are excited the matter has gone that way. That will be a warning to everybody that it is no to child marriage in Ondo State. Child marriage is denying a child her future. We must make sure we work for the child to realise her future.” she said