“Do they honestly think this is the solution?’ Asabe asked, putting down the newspaper she held in her hand and shaking her head simultaneously.
‘What solution are you talking about?’ I inquired, handing her a mug of the kunun gyada beverage I served her from my flask.
‘I’m talking about the Jigawa ban on night courtships, as reported in this edition of Aminiya.’ Asabe replied, picking the paper again and pointing to the story.
‘So there is a ban to that effect in Jigawa state? How did I miss the story? I mean I went through the paper just before you arrived.’ I observed.
‘Maybe you didn’t read it to the end because the story is on the back page; and point of correction it’s not a state-wide ban, it is only effective in Kirikasanma local government area of the state, where the local councillors had even legislated against it.’ Asabe explained.
‘Really? You mean a law has actually been enacted there to punish offenders?’ I asked, totally amazed.
‘Yes indeed, any man caught engaging in night courtship will be jailed six months or pay a fine of fifty thousand naira.’ She disclosed.
‘But what informed their decision to enact such a law? I mean there must be a lot of other issues they need to seriously legislate against, I don’t know why they thought night courtship deserves the highest priority.’ I wondered.
‘According to the report, too many of their young women are getting pregnant out of wedlock and they decided that night courtship must be the reason.’ Asabe answered.
‘So these wise councillors actually believe that night courtship is the reason their young men and women have taken to fornication and the breeding of unwanted babies?’ I queried.
‘It appears they do, but I don’t agree with them. We all did night courtships, didn’t we? And by the grace of Almighty Allah, we all shunned fornication and successfully saved ourselves for marriage. So how can night courtship be blamed for the way young women have cheapened themselves and embraced immorality?’ She asked, rhetorically.
‘You are right Asabe. The real problem is that today young people are not given the right orientation that could make them act properly and keep away from sin. If parents and our religious scholars instil enough fear of God in our youngsters surely they will grow up the way we did, with the fear of sin and divine retribution. But if all society can do is to ban night meetings between young women and their admirers, then how about day time? Do these wise men honestly think that those inclined to immorality cannot meet in the day time and do whatever they wished?
The fear of a jail term or loss of fifty thousand naira might keep them away from night time immorality, but the criminally-minded will always find ways to circumvent rules and laws. And they will very likely opt for day time rendezvous.’ I opined
‘You are right Bint and this is why I think the best approach is to start preaching against permissiveness and promiscuity. Youngsters must be made to know that pre-marital affairs are wrong and sinful. The preachers must emphasize the punishment in Hellfire, after death, and the consequences in this life, like unwanted children, sexually transmitted diseases and the lifetime stigma of having kids outside wedlock.’ Asabe asserted.
‘Yes, and besides, the campaign for morality among youths must be taken to schools, both islamiyyah and conventional. In other words parents, the ulama and school teachers must all join hands to preach against adultery and fornication, for the Jigawa ban to be effective. Otherwise, it will be a waste of time since nothing will change without the necessary orientation.’ I concurred.