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A family court sitting in the Ondo state capital city of Akure has been able to stop a forced marriage between a 16-year-old girl and an Islamic Cleric identified as Alhaji Yusuf Lateef.
The victim who is still a secondary school student was reported to have run away from home after her parents allegedly consented to the request of the Alhaji to marry the teenager as his 9th wife.
On the day fixed for the solemnization of the supposed marriage, the teenage girl with the support of her brother fled from her parents’ home located in Ore, Odigbo Local Government Area to Akure.
Daily Post gathered that prior to the fixed wedding, Alhaji Lateef had in 2019 approached the girl’s parents to solicit their daughter’s hand in marriage when she was 15 years old, the teenager was said to have outrightly rejected the proposal but her parents accepted and fixed a date for the marriage.
When she fled to Akure, she was taken to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development where she was given shelter and physical protection and then legal works began to stop the forced marriage.
Alhaji Lateef and the girl’s parents were subsequently arraigned at the Family Court for breaching part three of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.
The court presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye ordered the immediate return of the girl to her family for proper care and education and warned Lateef to stay away from her.
The court also ruled that Alhaji Lateef be made to sign an undertaking to stay away from the teenager as well as ensure no harm comes her way.
The Ondo State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi lauded the ruling,describing it as a victory for children in the state. She also hoped that with time and legal judgments, child marriage in the state will become a thing of the past.