Two men are reportedly married to Hauwa Ali Mariri in Nigeria's northern state of Kano which is a conservative Islamic state.
Woman in trouble if she fails to explain how she ended up being married to 2 men
A 32-year-old risks being punished for polyandry if she fails to prove beyond doubts that she did not deliberately get married to another man while still in a legally binding relationship with her first husband.
Kano is one of several states in Nigeria operating Sharia, or Islamic law, and it is an offence for a woman to marry more than one man.
Reports say 40-year-old Bello Ibrahim who happens to be Mariri's first husband, returned home to find another man lying on his bed after he had fallen seriously ill and had travelled to his village for treatment where he spent two years.
Ibrahim now accuses Mariri of remarrying in his absence without his knowledge but the woman told the BBC that he had divorced her, so she was free to remarry.
“He said he had divorced me before he travelled to his hometown. That is why I married Bala, I felt I was a free woman after he mentioned divorce,” she said.
Meanwhile, Ibrahim denied the claim that he had divorced Mariri and still considers her his wife after 17 years of marriage which has produced six children.
“I never divorced her. If she insists that that is the case where is her evidence, where’s the letter I wrote her?”
Broken-hearted, Ibrahim took the matter to the state’s Sharia police where this unusual love story is now being investigated and all three have been questioned.
Bala Abdulsalam, 35, Ibrahim’s rival said Mariri had told him that she had divorced her husband and that they could get married.
He says he sent her 20,000 naira ($50; £40) to take care of the marriage, including the bride price.
“I was out of town when I sent her the money, when I came back to Kano, she was my wife already,” he told the BBC.
His two-year relationship has also produced a child and Mariri is now pregnant with her second.
Just as Mariri, Bala Abdulsalam also risks punishment if the Sharia court finds him guilty of taking another man's wife.
Mariri has moved out of the house, leaving behind the six children with Ibrahim, while Bala has been told by the Sharia police not to leave Kano, as they are still investigating the case, the BBC reports.
Gwani Murtala, a local commander of the Sharia police in the Kumbotso area is reported as saying the case was a "first of its kind" and could not foretell the outcome.
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