Posted by Timige, On 1 Nov, 2023 | Updated On 1 Nov, 2023 No Comments »
Amidst ravaging hunger and crippling poor healthcare facilities, underage marriages, otherwise known as child marriage, still boom at the Internally Displaced Persons camps in Adamawa State, Arewa PUNCH reports.
At least five child marriages were recorded in one of the IDP camps this year alone, our findings reveal.
Most worrisome about the situation is that despite the hard times being faced by the vulnerable persons squatting at the various camps in Adamawa State following the 14 years of Boko Haram insurgency which forced many families to flee their homes, indiscriminate contraction of marriages by underage couples and tales of found love still flourish.
Arewa PUNCH visited one of the camps and had an exclusive chat with two families out of the five at the Fufore IDPs camps who got married this year – Bakura, 17 years old, who is originally from Michika, and got married to Aisha,15 years old in January 2023.
He told our correspondent that his love for her was so much that he approached Aisha’s parents, who gave their consent and blessed their marriage.
Asked to explain other factors that motivated him to settle for an early marriage with Aisha and what he knows of marital life at his present age and how he plans to take care of his bride to make her happy, Bakura said, “we are in the camp together, and I love Aisha very well. I will buy her anything she wants to make her happy.
“Aisha is pregnant for me and will soon give birth… I don’t want her to go to school, but I want my children to go to school. I want to have three children.”
When he was further probed on what work or vocation he would engage in to raise some money to buy all Aisha may require of him and to generally take good care of her, he simply added, “I would like to sell nylon bags for now.”
Although Bakura also said he aspires to be a soldier after completing his secondary school, he is currently in SS 2 at the moment.
While also interacting with Aisha, originally from Bama, she too confirmed that her parents gave her hand in marriage to Bakura.
According to Aisha, she loves Bakura so much and would like to have three children for him, adding that she would like to go to school alongside her children.
The young bride who is confident that Bakura loves her equally reveals that she knows what to do and what not to do to keep herself and her baby out of danger.
Regarding whether or not she has had any health issues since she got pregnant, she said, “not at all,” stressing that she and her unborn baby were living in good health.”
Similarly, 21-year-old Babagana, who migrated to Adamawa from Bama, told Arewa PUNCH that he was born into a family that consists of his parents and seven children.
“Now, with my wife, parents, brothers, and sisters, we are making a total of 10 of us.”
Continuing, he informed proudly, “I am also in school – SS 2. I would like to be a medical doctor in the future. My grade level in school is first or second position. Sometimes, Bakura and I compete over who takes the first or second position in school.”
He revealed further that he got married only in July 2023 to Hapsat. “She is 17 years old. I am loving Hapsat very well. She is very, very good and sweet (sic),” he added.
According to Babagana, Hapsat is not yet pregnant for him, but they actively engage in sex in the camp, and he would like to have two children. He stated that Hapsat’s parents allowed him to marry their daughter because they liked and trusted him.
Asked what work he also would engage in as a job in order to live a better life with his wife, he said, “farming.”
Babagana maintained that “He is a farmer and loves to grow farm crops,” adding that he would like only his children to go to school while his wife stays back at home.
When both Bakura and Babagana were asked how their peers felt about their marriage in the camp, they responded simultaneously, “They are happy and want to get married also.”
To underscore their excitement and newfound life, the young husbands promised to keep up their academic excellence and at the same time take good care of their wives.
Although there were no reported cases of rape, it was, however, learnt that a major marital squabble common at the camps (Damare and Fufore) was usually among the wives over whose turn it was to share the night with their husbands and sometimes about portions of food being served by the wives to their husbands.
A source confided in Our Correspondent saying, “Sometimes, it is about whose turn it is to be with the husbands for the night. That is one major issue which also brings about quarrels in the camp and that is for those who have two or more wives.”
Speaking with the National Emergency Management Agency’s Coordinator in the Adamawa branch, Mr Ladan Ayuba on his views about the booming underage marriages in the IDP camp, he said, “Even though I see them with lots of children, I most times don’t like to talk about marriages in general because people are supposed to be free to make their choices, and the marriages are contracted between them also, it is their right from the age of 18 and above.
“Unfortunately, going by the age of the new couples, it means they are going to be relying on their parents and the government, as well, which is not good and should not be encouraged.
“I will meet with the Executive Secretary of the State Emergency Management Agency alongside the development partners to brainstorm on the matter. We will meet with the leaders of the camps to sensitise them on the need to stop such from happening. It is not just about the love they claim to have. They should wait until they are of marriageable age to do so. That way, the husbands would have something tangible to do as well to support their families and not just rely on the help they get from time to time.
“This issue calls for serious concern, and I thank Arewa PUNCH for bringing this to our notice. We would ensure they all have a better life even though they are living in the camp,” Ayuba replied to an SMS forwarded to his phone.
Furthermore, Arewa PUNCH spoke through an interpreter and in Hausa language to the Chairman at the Fufore camp, Abba Umar, on whether or not he is aware of the five marriages already contracted at the camps, but he immediately corrected that the total number of marriages recorded were six.
However, he pointed out that in as much as marriage is a good thing, he is not happy about the underage marriages.
Umar said he would try his best to stop such from happening at the camps, especially the Fufore camp going forward.
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