Finally, Kano man, 23, marries 46-year-old American sweetheart
Since American mum, Janine Sanchez, 46, first visited Nigeria earlier in the year to see her 23-year-old love interest, Sulieman Isah Isah, the relationship has been talked about a lot. After COVID-19 scuttled their plans to get married, Janine returned last week and finally, in a wedding ceremony Sunday that drew a huge crowd, bagged her man.
With their faces full of smiles, fully dressed in traditional Hausa attire, the couple arrived at the wedding venue in grand style amidst cheers and ululations.
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What started as online courtship some two years back on Instagram between Suleiman Isah Isah, 23, of Panshekara in Kano Metropolis and his heartthrob, Janine Sanchez, 46, a mum from California in the US was on Sunday sealed in marriage.
The wedding, which took place at MOPOL 52 Barracks Juma’at Mosque in Panshekara, Kumbotso Local Government of Kano State around 11:00 am, had thousands of well-wishers from within and outside the state witness the historic event.
As provided by Islamic Shari’a, the groom, Isah, paid the sum of N50, 000 to his bride as dowry.
A former Senator representing Kaduna Central in the Nigerian Senate, Shehu Sani, who is also a relative of the groom’s father, stood in as Janine’s representative (waliy).
The bride entered the mosque during the wedding wearing an abaya (long gown), with her head fully covered with a headscarf, waving cheerfully at her well-wishers.
“I am very happy today. You can see it in my face,” she said.
On their immediate plans after the wedding, Janine said, “We are staying here for a while before I will leave for America. And he will later join me when his visa is ready.”
The groom, popularly known as Baba-Yaro, told Daily Trust that marrying Janine has made him a happy man as it was his greatest wish.
“Honestly, I am short of words to express my happiness. All I can say is Alhamdulillah. Most people think it was a joke but today it has come to reality. It is the will of God,” he said. “I am advising anyone who sees any woman that really loves him to submit and marry her. There is nothing wrong with it. It is love,” he said.
The groom’s father, Sulaiman Isah, who is a retired policeman, expressed gratitude to Almighty Allah and thanked those who attended his son’s wedding.
“I am very happy. Alhamdulillah. Some people thought it was a joke, today it has come to reality. I wish the couple long life and prosperity. And I thank all those who attended the wedding and I wish them a safe journey to their various destinations,” he said.
As is usual in such cases, family members and relatives had a thing or two to say about impending weddings. In this case, Malam Sulaiman said the family was completely behind this wedding.
“It is like everyone is happy with the wedding. You know if people understand things they will realize that there is nothing wrong with it,” he said.
He also refuted some accusations of those criticizing the marriage by referring to the Sunnah of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).
“I challenge those that see something wrong with the marriage to come forward with the answer to these two issues? When the Prophet got married to Khadija (RA), how old was he and what was her age? And then was Khadija richer than him or not?”
His sentiments were echoed by the groom’s mother, Malama Fatima Sulaiman, who said it was a happy day for her.
“I am so happy today to see that influential people from far and near have come here for my son’s wedding. You know he is the third child in this family but his wedding gathered a lot of people. Alhamdulillah,” she said.
She added that she is satisfied with her daughter-in-law’s character.
“At the beginning, we thought she came to deceive my son but later I realised she really loves him. Besides, she is very friendly and tolerant. She likes people. She has never looked down on us,” she said. She wished the couple well in their new life and advised her son to stick firmly to his religion. “I am hoping one day he will influence her to convert to Islam,” she said.
While many are asking questions about the union, Senator Shehu Sani sees it as a step in bridging the gap between races.
“I’m a family friend to the groom, Isah and I’m a firm believer of marital unions that will bring about peace and unity and also encourage coexistence and inter-racial relationships.
“This is a marriage permitted by Islam as well as our customs and tradition as Hausa/Fulani. Whoever is desirous of respecting this culture and tradition should bless this marriage.
“I hope it will serve as a wake-up call to our youths who are willing to marry not to be distracted by the identity of who they want to marry as long as they love each other.
“I pray it will establish landmark precedence to our youths intending to marry not to wait until they are too old.
“And for men who have already married but wish to add, so long as they are not up to the restricted four wives, if they see any lady they want to marry, whether she is from Europe, Middle East or even Asia, they should go ahead and marry. It brings about global integration,” he said.
The elder brother of the groom, Mustapha Suleiman Isah said they never thought from the beginning that the relationship would end in to marriage.
“When he first introduced the issue to us, we were a bit confused because it’s a new practice that I never heard of it before, for a black man of his age to marry a white woman from the faraway US.
“We had to sit down as relatives and consult all the necessary stakeholders then keep praying before deciding on it.
“Initially, we were thinking she came to deceive him. But later upon realising that she was serious about it, we accepted her,” he said.
Similarly, the groom’s immediate younger brother, Umar Suleiman Isah said there was mild drama before they agreed to accept the proposed marriage.
“Initially, we didn’t agree, looking at the scenario, but after careful examination, our parents and other relatives agreed. I’m really happy for him and I will miss him,” Umar said.
I travelled all the way from Yobe to witness it – Facebook friend
Malam Audu Bashir, a Facebook friend of Suleiman, the groom, said he travelled all the way from Yobe State just to witness the ceremony.
“I have never met him in person until today (Sunday); we are only friends on Facebook. I felt I just had to come here to witness it.
“As a youth, this union is simply telling us that we can fight racial discrimination. Marriage is a union from Allah, you marry only the one you are comfortable with as a partner,” he said.
Daily Trust gathered that the bride, who has been in Kano for the past one week, will spend two more weeks before departing.
The husband is expected to join her in the US in the next six months when his visa is ready. There, he is expected to complete his university education, as he is presently a 200 level student, studying at Yusuf Maitama Sule University, Kano.