Controversy as man marries granddaughter in Zamfara

Posted by News Express | 22 July 2022 | 990 times

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•Musa Tsafe


Controversy has continued to trail the marriage of a  forty-seven–year-old man, Alhaji Musa Tsafe, with his granddaughter, Hajiya Wasila Isah, in Tsafe Local Government Area of Zamfara State.

Daily Trust findings revealed that Alhaji Musa married the granddaughter of his elder brother 23 years ago and they are blessed with eight children. However, being the blood younger brother of his wife’s grandfather, the legality of the marriage was questioned by the Islamic injunctions.

According to the Shura Council of  the local council, Alhaji Musa Tsafe, being of the same parent with his wife’s grandfather is not allowed to marry her as provided by Islamic law and declared the marriage between them as illegal. 

A family source told Daily Trust that the marriage was contracted in 1999. The source said it was a case of elopement between the couple.

“After some time, the marriage ceremony was hurriedly arranged by the family probably without taking into cognisance its Islamic implications. Shortly after the wedding, the couple moved to Buruku in Kaduna State and they stayed there for several years and gave birth to most of their children before they returned to Tsafe again owing to the growing insecurity.

“Even before the wedding, some of the family members, especially the grandmother of the wife, raised some observations about the legality of the marriage according to Islamic Sharia, but were ignored by the husband,  wife and all those who participated in the matter.

“In fact, at one point,  Alhaji Musa was becoming angry whenever he was reminded about the problem. It is not that the case was just raised only recently. The issue was raised in 2019, but was ignored by the family,” one of the husband’s closest friends who craved  anonymity told our reporter.

After it was learnt that the couple were not willing to take the matter seriously, Tsafe Emirate Council was notified and the council forwarded the matter to the local government’s Shura Council. After thrashing the issue thoroughly through the provisions of the Holy Qur’an and other books of Islamic Jurisprudence, the Shura Council recommended that the marriage should be voided.

However, the council ascertained the legitimacy of the children the couple gave birth to, saying the couple had married  out of ignorance and that would not affect the legitimacy of the children. The council added that the children could inherit their father or mother.

Parts of the recommendations the Shura Council forwarded to the Tsafe Emirate Council, Daily Trust has learnt,  were that the husband should divorce the wife and he should do that in secret to the extent that not even his neighbours should be in the know.

In addition to that, since the husband is financially stable, he should look into the possibility of giving her something tangible from his assets as alimony.

After the Shura Council passed the recommendations to the emirate, the couple were summoned and notified of the stand, their union and the husband promised to look into the recommendations with a view to adopting them.

“In fact, Alhaji Musa had handed over a house worth N10 million to his wife, Hajiya Wasila Isah, as part of the move for them to separate. Suddenly, he got a summons from a higher sharia court that he has been sued over the matter. This is what truncated his willingness to divorce the wife,” said his intimate friend, Ahmed Alfa.

However, some residents, who spoke with Daily Trust, said Alhaji Musa refused to end the union after he began to listen to some individuals who were telling him that it was the local government Izala movement and the Hisbah commission that were hell bent on ending his marriage with Wasila.

“Since then he refused to adopt the recommendations of the local government Shura Council insisting that the union is legitimate despite the fact that the matter was taken before Sheikh Dahiru Bauchi who reaffirmed the earlier position of the local government Shura Council.

“We have done our part and we have passed our recommendations to the Emirate Council and those saying that it was a plan to introduce Izala doctrine into the matter should understand that we are talking about “Sharia” not “Aqida”.

“Before we came up with our stand, we also consulted a number of Ulama from various places and we have quoted the Holy Qur’an and various acceptable books of Islamic Jurisprudence,”   the chairman of the  Shura Council, Sheikh Habib Liman Tsafe, told our correspondent.

Why we took the case to sharia court – Hisbah commission

“The case was taken to sharia court after the husband refused to end the union and the Hizbah want the court to dissolve the marriage because it is against the Islamic injunctions,” the chairman of the  Hizbah commission in the local government, Lawal Muhammad Dankamfani, told Daily Trust.

He said they waited for sometime to see whether the husband would heed the advice of the Ulama but he didn’t do that.

However, a source at the court told Daily Trust that after the case was lodged and summonses were issued to the couple, they refused to appear before the court.

“The judge identified as Bashir Mahe ordered the wife to vacate her matrimonial home and move to her father’s house pending the determination of the case by the court. But the wife refused to move out of her husband’s house and a case of contempt of court was instituted against her.

“The judge ordered for her arrest but when we went to the house to carry out the court order, her family members wielding machetes and pestles chased us away. They resisted every attempt to arrest her. In fact, they aided her escape.

“Since then, her whereabouts are still unknown and even her husband is not coming to the court but would always send his lawyer,” the source added.

Several attempts to talk to the wife and the husband by our reporter failed.

At the Thursday’s sitting on the matter, the prosecuting counsel, Barr Sani Muhammad, had asked the court to dissolve the union after he made references to verses from the Holy Qur’an and read out the genealogy of the family to the court.

However, the defence counsel, Barrister Abubakar Ayuba, said he should be given time to look into the investigation carried out by the Hisbah commission even as he  challenged the jurisdiction of the court to entertain the case.

He also said the Hisbah commission had no locus standi or legal right to bring the case to the court going by the laws that established the commission. This was however countered by the prosecuting counsel. The judge adjourned the case until July 25, 2022.

Attempts to hear from Wasila’s father failed. After arriving  at his residence in Tsafe town, the man, who said he had been wheelchair bound for about 10 years, had started giving the account of what happened when suddenly a woman jumped into the parlour and stopped the interview, citing order from an unknown family member.

There was a tense atmosphere at the family house and our correspondent, on noticing that, had to leave the residence because the woman insisted that the man should not talk to the press.

Meanwhile, some residents said fear of stigma has gripped  the children of the couple with some of them avoiding the public. (Daily Trust: Text, excluding headline)

Source: News Express

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