Religious authorities married 1,111 couples at a mass wedding aimed at combating rising rates of divorce and births out of wedlock, and the number of impoverished widows and divorcees forced to make a living on the streets in mainly Muslim northern Nigeria.

Thursday's wedding in Kano city comes as the Hisbah Board responsible for Shariah law has been clamping down. Thousands have been arrested in recent months for improper dress, prostitution and indecent mixing of the sexes. At one recent ceremony, a bulldozer crushed 240,000 bottles of beer.

Hisbah officials say the mass weddings help promote a stable family life.

Kano government paid a dowry of $65 for each bride. Grooms are not allowed to divorce without permission. Some 4,461 couples have been wedded en masse since 2012.