It has been revealed that the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman through one of his aides identified Jamilu Lawal forcefully kidnapped a little 14-year-old christian girl, Habiba Isa on August 16, 2016, and converted her to Islam before marrying her without her parent's consent.
According to Punch, the Katsina Emirate Council on Thursday declared that the marriage between 14-year-old girl, Habiba Isa, and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman, was irreversible.
The council said the marriage and Isa’s conversion to Islam were voluntarily and willingly entered into by the girl.
But, the parents of the child who live in Abuja have been in tears since their daughter was abducted and forcefully converted to Islam before being married off. They had thought that the daughter was married to the man who kidnapped her only to find out that the Emir had told one of his aides to kidnap the girl for him.
However, the Katsina State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria is fighting for the girl now after visiting the palace of the Emir to convey the thoughts of the parents to him over the attrocious act.
The family of Isiyaku Tanko of Warkaza community in the Kudun Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State on Wednesday alleged that Usman forcefully abducted their 14-year-old daughter and forced her into marrying him.
Isa is expected to clock 15 years on Saturday, October 15, 2016, and would have resumed school for the new academic term, but for her abduction.
She was said to have passed her Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination and was expected to start Senior Secondary School.
The incident was blown open when the father of the victim lodged a complaint with Stefanos Foundation, a humanitarian civil rights organisation, which took over the matter.
Isa was allowed to appear before CAN officials and others in the palace on Thursday, and was asked three questions by the Kaora Katsina, Alhaji Nuhu Abdulkadir, on behalf of the emirate council.
She was asked whether she was forcefully converted to Islam, to which she replied no. She was also asked whether the emirate council or any other person forced her into the marriage with the emir, to which she also answered no.
The third question was whether by the time she met her husband, she was already experiencing menstrual period, to which she answered yes.
The Kaora Katsina said, “The three questions are in line with the dictates of the Islamic religion. Since Isa has voluntarily answered the three questions in our presence, there is no going back on her marriage.”
The CAN Chairman for Katsina State, Very Rev. Nelson Ugochukwu, however, told the emirate council that Isa’s marriage did not have the consent of her parents, who he said, were crying for justice in Abuja.
The CAN leader said the association was not in support of the marriage and her conversion to Islam.
He said, “This girl (Isa) standing before us is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school and not given out in marriage.
“We are not pleased and we demand justice. Her parents are in Abuja, crying for justice. In my religion, you cannot give out any lady in marriage without the consent of her parents. This marriage does not have the consent of this little girl’s parent. The parents are not happy with what has happened.
“As the CAN chairman in Katsina, I am the father of all Christians in the state. Our people are not happy. The parents told me that the girl is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school. I want justice to be done in this matter. I want the emirate to look into the matter. To us, the girl is still a Christian.”
The little girl's father had cried out earlier saying: “My little girl was abducted on the 16th of August 2016 from her school. After my investigations, I discovered that Jamilu Lawal who lives in the same community was responsible for my daughters’ disappearance.
“I requested that a formal complaint about the incident be lodged to the Commissioner of Police in Kastina, Jamilu and his parents were summoned to the police station and he not only admitted to abducting my daughter Habiba but also revealed that she was presently being kept at the Palace of the Emir of Kastina.
“On arrival at the Palace, the Emir informed me that my daughter has been converted from Christianity to Islam henceforth, there is no longer any relationship between me and my daughter and we can no longer inherit each other.
“He further informed me that he has received the sum if N50, 000.00 as dowry from Jamilu Ibrahim for my daughter therefore, he will give her out in marriage in accordance with Islamic rites and injunctions.
“As at today, I am aware that the Emir of Kastina has gone ahead to marry out my little girl without my consent, having received a dowry he is not entitled to receive, it fills me with so much pain and grief to realize that my daughter, who will turn 15 this Saturday the 15th may be celebrating her birthday in a forced marriage.
“I appeal to all well-meaning Nigerians and those in authority to help join hands to see that my daughter is released to me though the violations already done to her person may be irreversible. I further appeal that the Incident be well investigated and diligently prosecuted.”
The family of the girl are now crying for justice as The Stafanos Foundation is looking into the matter. Many people have been left shocked by the degree of abuse being suffered by this family and relevant authorities have kept mute over this terrible and shameful display of power by those who should be the custodian of it.