A family court in Akure, the Ondo State capital has ordered an Islamic cleric, Alhaji Yusuf Lateef to stay away from a 16-year-old secondary School student whom he had wanted to marry as his 9th wife against her wish.
The court, presided over by Justice Aderemi Adegoroye, also ordered that the girl be returned to her family for proper care and education and warning Lateef to stay away from her.
Lateef had reportedly approached the parent of the girl on 2019 when she was 15, with the intention to make her his 9th wife.
Though the little girl was said to have protested, her parents forced her to accept the proposal and a day was fixed for the wedding.
She however ran away from their Ore home to Akure, the state capital, with the help of her brother.
She was said to have gone to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development where she was sheltered and legal works began to stop the marriage, leading to the arraignment of Alhaji Lateef and her parents at the Family Court for breaching Part three of the 2007 Ondo State Child Rights Law.
After hearing from the defendants, the court ruled that the girl be returned to her parents and Alhaji Lateef be made to sign an undertaking to stay away from her as well as ensure no harm comes her way.
Speaking on the outcome of the case, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Titilola Adeyemi, said it was victory for children in the state.
“We are excited the matter has gone that way. That will be a warning to everybody that it is no to child marriage in Ondo State. Child marriage is denying a child her future. We must make sure we work for the child to realise her future”, the commissioner said.