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How paternity fraud is finding its way into Northern Nigeria

Paternity fraud is a topic a lot of people are running away from talking about. To them, it is vulgar and uncalled for, but the…

Paternity fraud is a topic a lot of people are running away from talking about. To them, it is vulgar and uncalled for, but the reality strikes here and there from families of renowned personalities.

Unverified statistics in the public domain suggests paternity fraud as one of the trending topics in recent years.

Northern part of Nigeria is acknowledged for its prudence in marriage and marital affairs, cutting across all tribes and religions. But surprisingly, cases of newly-wed women putting to bed before the expected date is becoming rampant in the region.

40 weeks which is nine months are the expected months of normal delivery as witnessed life long, and scientifically proven, although Islamic law suggests a woman can deliver at six months as mentioned by Mal Abdullahi Labbo Ibrahim the Judge of Islamic Shariah Court, Tudun Wada in Zaria Local Government of Kaduna State.

Malam Abdullahi further mentioned that any birth before six months is questionable, that the parents of the baby have questions to answer. Because Islamic jurisprudence suggests a woman can deliver at six months but anything less is void and that cases of such nature are rampant in Zaria and environs.

Umar Mukhtar of Mangu in Plateau state disclosed to the weekly Hausa Daily Trust magazine podcast “Daga Laraba” that his wife gave birth five months after their wedding.

Umar claimed not to have had sexual affair with his bride until their wedding. He further disclosed that after her birth, he interrogated his wife and she told him that before their wedding one of her boyfriends drugged her drink and raped her, which resulted in the pregnancy. And that led to their divorce.

Another victim from Kano who prefers anonymity explained that his bride told him about her pregnancy just two days after their wedding. He claimed not to understand that a woman can’t notice pregnancy in a day or two. So he was glad she was pregnant.

To his dismay his bride insisted that, the pregnancy should be aborted as she is not ready for it. He got to understand that he was not responsible for the pregnancy when it became clear that she was into an extra marital relationship.

He also realized that her parents were sending “small chops” traditionally meant for pregnant women at that early stage. The marriage couldn’t continue, as he divorced her as well.

An elder, Maryam Jibril Kofar Bai from Katsina State, attested to the happenings and mentioned that paternity fraud is real and it is rampant in Katsina as some parents especially mothers do connive with their daughters to tie the pregnancy using some traditional herbs to lure men into accepting pregnancies that truly belong to others.

Hajiya Maryam Jibril Kofar Bai faulted these happenings on mothers. She said, “Mothers must be careful, we must be able to know when our daughters are in their periods, we must know when they start and when it’s over. ”

She also advised parents to allow their daughters to have their traditional dating visit in their homes.

“Let the men seeking for our daughters’ hands in marriage come into our homes and see their lovers, let’s be hearing their voices as they hear ours, let’s be tactically checking on them to avoid the occurrence of pregnancy before marriage that will occur from premarital sexual intercourse.”

Mal Abdulaziz Aliyu Mashi, an elderly person, faulted the scholars, parents and Governments over unwanted pregnancy among young girls.

He said, “Our scholars need to preach against fornication more and more, what they are doing is less compared to the level of the atrocity. Parents are to be blamed the most because they have failed in nurturing their children in a good way. Sometimes parents run from getting their daughters married due to lack of what they will send her to husband’s house with – things that are actually worldly and are even an innovation Islam frowns at.”

Mal Abdulaziz further explained that the Government must define the concept of early marriage very well, as there are campaigns about early marriage, but no one is talking about early pregnancy. They must understand that cultures differ, beliefs differ, so also norms and values.

It is pathetic as marriage with pregnancy is void according to Islamic Shariah and the couples are not legally recognized as husbands and wives, as mentioned by Ustadz Muhammad Sule.