Political Tension Cancels Nigerian Mass Wedding
A mass wedding has been canceled in northern Nigeria, leaving about 100 couples wondering when they will get another chance to marry.
The couples from rural areas in Kano state were to be married in the middle of August. But tensions between the governor and a state senator who organized the ceremony forced a delay.
The postponement was enforced by police. They said they had been told the event could be a security threat.
Plans had already been made when the postponement was announced the day before the wedding. The wedding meal was prepared. A goat had been slaughtered. Chickens were roasting and rice had been bought.
Organizers said thousands of people were expected to attend, including governors from five other states.
"I had already invited my friends and many of them had come from faraway places, only to come to Kano to hear that the wedding will not be taking place," said Inuwa Inuwa. The 22-year old Inuwa had planned to marry his 16-year-old girlfriend Kaishia Yunusa.
Mass weddings paid for by the government are common in this mostly Muslim state. All costs are covered, including the venue, gifts and food. The government buys furniture for each couple and gives them some money to start out.
The Kano state government has held mass weddings for more than 4,000 couples in recent years. The governor's office said it will try to organize a new mass wedding in Kano as soon as possible.
Single women register for mass weddings with an Islamic, or Sharia committee. The committee helps match them with a man and organizes the wedding ceremonies. Couples who do not have enough money for their own weddings can also register.
Abubukar Jiddere is a political scientist with the Aminu Kano Center for Democratic Research and Training in Kano City, Nigeria. He says the wedding program is good for society and can improve a woman's social status.
"It is essentially meant to promote gender equity, in terms of providing sustainable lifestyles for the women."
In Nigerian culture, a sustainable lifestyle means getting married and staying married. But many couples are also getting divorced.
Economy affecting marriages
Population growth and falling oil revenues have made the economy worse making it harder to find a job in Nigeria. This has caused many families to force their young girls into early marriage. But many newly married couples find they are not happy together and cannot pay their debts.
It is harder for people married in mass weddings to get a divorce. The couple must bring their marriage disputes to officials who enforce Muslim Sharia law. Husbands are required to pay a $600 fine to divorce.
Local activist Zubaida Nagee says the high divorce rate causes problems for women. She believes the real issue is that too many women lack education and are poor. She says many of these women are "desperate" and see a government-sponsored marriage as a way out of their problems.
"There are better ways of taking care of women. For the government to come up with mass weddings, it is only a short term solution to the problem."
She says marriage naturally leads to children who add to the financial burden of the family. She would like to see the government do more to help the women in other ways.
As for Inuwa, he now has a job as a driver. He says he can now afford to take care of a wife on his own. But, he says he would not turn down a government offer to pay for his wedding.
I'm Bryan Lynn.
1.mass wedding 集体婚礼
This mass wedding for these families is of great significance.
2.rural areas 农村地区
Rural areas have been worst hit by the strike.
3.security threat 安全威胁
The immediate security threat has disappeared.
4.taking place 发生；举行
Some sort of gathering was taking place in the hotel.
1.The government buys furniture for each couple and gives them some money to start out.
start out 出发；着手进行
I'll start out to write my paper tomorrow.
Let's start out before dawn.
2.The governor's office said it will try to organize a new mass wedding in Kano as soon as possible.
as soon as possible 尽快
I want this agreement in black and white as soon as possible.
The best plan would be to lead trumps as soon as possible.
卡诺州农村的夫妇们原计划于八月中旬举行婚礼 。但负责婚礼仪式的参议员与州长之间紧张的关系导致婚礼延期 。
警方介入强行延迟婚礼 。他们称有人举报婚礼可能存在恐怖威胁 。
婚礼前日，一切准备工作都已就绪却突然宣布推迟婚礼 。婚宴都准备好了 。人们已经宰杀了一只羊 。鸡都摆上了烘焙架，而大米也已提前购置 。
依努瓦·依努瓦表示：“我已经邀请了朋友来参加，其中很多朋友千里迢迢地赶来，结果到卡诺却听到婚礼取消的消息” 。22岁的依努瓦原计划与16岁的女友雅什雅·依努萨结婚 。
这里大多数人都是穆斯林，因此政府为集体婚礼买单是很常见的 。包括场地、礼品和婚宴等一切开销 。政府给每一对准夫妻置办家具，并且给予他们一些积蓄开始新的生活 。
近年来，卡诺州政府已经为4000多对夫妇举行了集体婚礼 。州长办公室表示将尽快在卡诺州举办一次盛大的集体婚礼 。
单身女性以穆斯林或穆斯林委员会的名义进行集体婚礼登记 。该委员会帮她们找到另一半并为他们举办婚礼 。没有钱办婚礼的夫妇也可以登记 。
安布布卡·杰丁是卡诺市尼日利亚阿米努卡诺中心民主研究和培训的政治专家 。他说，婚礼对社会有利，而且有助于提高女性社会地位 。
在尼日利亚的文化里，一种可持续的生活方式是指结婚和维持婚姻 。但也有很多离异夫妇 。
人口增长与石油收入下跌使经济状况不断恶化，尼日利亚人谋生也愈加困难 。因此很多家庭强迫女儿早婚 。然而，许多新婚夫妇发现婚姻生活并不愉快，而且无力偿还债务 。
那些参加集体婚礼人想离婚并非易事 。夫妻须将婚姻纠纷上呈给穆斯林的执法官员 。丈夫还得另支付600美元的离婚罚款 。
当地的观察员祖拜达·纳吉表示：居高不下的离婚率给女性带来诸多问题 。她认为根源在于大多数女性缺乏教育，家境贫困 。她说，这些女性充满“绝望”，她们希望通过政府举办的婚礼摆脱不堪的生活 。
“其实，提高女性生活品质有更好的办法 。政府提出集体婚礼只能在短期内解决一些问题 。”
她说，婚后生子自然会加重经济负担 。她希望政府可以通过其他方式来帮助女性 。
至于依努瓦，他现在找到一份司机的工作 。他说现在有能力照顾妻子 。然而，他很乐意接受政府为婚礼买单 。