Agony aunt

Nigerian women turn to Instagram for advice on “marital chaos”

Ziya’atulhaqq Usman Tahir uses her Instagram feed, Fatibolady, to invite women to anonymously share their concerns. (Instagram/FatIboLady)

In religiously conservative northern Nigeria, where being forthcoming about one’s troubles in public is frowned upon, one woman has come up with a very practical way to share advice. Ziya’atulhaqq Usman Tahir has been using her Instagram account FatIboLady to allow women to share their concerns anonymously. In a society where the pain of “marital chaos” is being ameliorated too often with the abuse of codeine-laced cough syrup (30,000 bottles per day are consumed in the country’s north), the social media platform is revolutionizing women’s access to accessing advice and solutions.

“It is a social space that helps women to unwind by pouring out their anguish bottled up inside and seek honest opinions on how best to tackle such problems,” says Bauchi-based Tahir. Launched three months ago as a kind of “agony aunt” platform, the page already has more than 24,000 followers and its 400 posts have generated more than 2 million responses. “Family problems are seen as domestic affairs which no outsiders should be involved in, which mostly leaves the woman at the receiving end,” she said. “But more women are now coming out of their shells to talk about the depravity they are facing in their relationships.”

As interest in the project has swelled, Tahir has brought in professionals — gynaecologists, lawyers, therapists –to provide more informed advice. One day she hopes it will become a television show. Move over, Oprah.

Read the full story at The Guardian.

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