Many cultures in and out of Nigeria often have different marriage traditions. The Fulani tradition involves “sharo” which is a fulani game that involves two suitors flogging one another publicly to win a maiden’s hand in marriage.
The nomadic Fulani are known for their hard work, discipline, and courage. Because of this, it is believed that this process will help test the strength of the potential groom to prove his worth in terms of strength, resilience, and endurance.
In ‘an act of bravery’ the groom is expected not to wince, cry or show he is in pain, while asking for more strokes.
The challenger will flog his opponent until he begs him to stop. A referee is provided to keep watch on the strokes so as to prevent serious and life-threatening injuries like blindness.
The winner of the flogging competition the right to marry any girl they choose, or even four girls if he can prove his ability to handle all of them.
Despite the diffusion of the Fulani culture with Islam, the Sharo Festival’s importance has ensured its continuous practice over the centuries.
However, something recently happened during this traditional marriage rite. Yari Inusa, a suitor in Durmin Biri village, in the Kafur Local Government Area of Katsina State, died while competing in “sharo”.
Inusa had been competing for the hand of a lady with another man Ahmed Saidu when he was hit over his head with the cane.
Inusa had reportedly flogged Saidu without incident. When it was Saidu’s turn, he flogged Inusa at the back of his head, rather than on his back as the rules of the game states. Inusa passed out and was taken to the hospital, where he was confirmed dead. His father reported the incident to the police, and Saidu was promptly arrested.
Inusa’s corpse has been released to the family and has been buried according to Islamic rites.