single in NigeriaSingle women in Nigeria are uniting! They have their own movement. Unfortunately, what they are agitating for are husbands.

I first learned about this from The Week, which publishes excerpts and summaries from editorials around the world. The brief piece about the Nigerian editorial began like this:

“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 women formed a group – Voices of Widows, Divorcees, and Orphans Association of Nigeria, or VOWAN – to try to pressure their government to help them. Their governor heard them and came up with a plan to marry off the women at 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.”

The summary in The Week got me sufficiently riled to want to read the entire editorial. I found it online here.

The U.S. has a commander-in-chief but Nigeria has a “spinster-in-chief” who has been running “operation hook-up” since 2003. The editorial goes on to note: “Ironically, close to a decade later, she is yet to be hooked.”

The public auction of single women to “suitable” men has not been so successful either: “only 20 of them have been fixed in the first batch of the first phase.”

The editorialist suggests that the politicians practice what they preach:

“…if the Kano State government was truly committed to marrying them off, the governor, his deputy, and other political officeholders should take its members as wives.”

There is a high rate of divorce in Kano, and the writer ends by suggesting that even if more of the women got married as a result of the auction, they wouldn’t stay that way:

“At best, they would only temporarily quit the marriage market only to return to it used, maltreated and frustrated, unless a typical Kano man treats his wife any better than his other assets, all of which are both replaceable and disposable.

“Another point missed is that among those women, the majority only need husbands as a form of social security. Empower them and their numbers would drastically reduce.”

Maybe the next singles movement in Nigeria will be called “Jobs, Not Husbands.”

African American woman photo available from Shutterstock


    Last reviewed: 11 Oct 2012

APA Reference
DePaulo, B. (2012). Single in Nigeria. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 21, 2014, from



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