Four men in Kano have fled their homes after receiving death threats for organising a wedding on Facebook that was deemed offensive to Islam.
The groom, Sanusi Abdullahi, confessed to having “jokingly” offered a female Facebook friend a bride price of about N20,000 (Twenty thousand naira) during the “online marriage”.
Mr Abdullahi and his three friends decided to go into hiding after they started receiving death threats by text message.
He was attacked by an unknown person on Monday, an incident that made him and his friends decide to emerge from hiding and report to the Hisbah [religious police] to apologise for the mock wedding.
Religious leaders said it was a mockery of the institution of marriage.
Mr Abdullahi, 29, told the BBC that the messages he exchanged with a female Facebook friend about a wedding were in jest.
The story quickly spread on Facebook and was picked up by the media, leading to condemnation by religious leaders who called for their arrest.
Sheik Nazifi Inuwa, a prominent religious leader in Kano, told the BBC that the incident was unIslamic.
“In Islam only wayward ladies marry out themselves without their parents or guardians giving her out to her suitor. What Sanusi and his friends did is nothing but a useless charade… Islamic marriage is never done like this.”
Abba Sufi, the head of Hisbah in Kano, said that he had accepted the men’s apology, and warned them not to do it again.
“I was afraid after I was attacked but the police have assured me that they will investigate the incident. I am also thankful that it has been two days and I have not received a threat,” Mr Abdullahi told the BBC.
The woman involved in the incident lives in the north-eastern state of Borno and has not been sanctioned, but her boyfriend has reportedly left her because of the incident.
Mr Abdullahi also revealed that his fiancée had left him.