Feature

Nigeria: Why auctioning off women won’t work

The ancient city of Kano, the second largest in Nigeria, has more than 1 million unmarried women in search of husbands.

Editorial
Leadership

The “spinsters of Kano” are on the prowl, said the Abuja Leadership. The ancient city, the second largest in Nigeria, has more than 1 million unmarried women in search of husbands, and they have been growing increasingly vocal. The “anxious and desperate” women have formed a pressure group—Voice of Widows, Divorcees, and Orphans Association of Nigeria, or VOWAN—to lobby the government to help them. Gov. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso heard their pleas and came up with “an ingenious marry-off plan similar to a public auction.” His Islamic religious police announced an initial public offering of 1,000 women to be married off to “suitable and qualified candidates,” who must purchase special vouchers to be matched up. Such a scheme may be good for a laugh, but it won’t make a dent in the alarmingly large ranks of single women—partly because Kano has such a high divorce rate. At best, the women would “only temporarily quit the marriage market, only to return to it used, maltreated, and frustrated.” The truth is, the reason most of these women want husbands is because that’s the only way they can guarantee their financial security. “Empower them, and their numbers would drastically reduce.”

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