Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman has been accused of marrying off 14 year old Habiba Isiyaku to her kidnapper, Jamilu Lawal. According to The Nation, Habiba’s father, Isiyaku Tanko, accused the Katsina monarch at a press conferences organized by an NGO, Stefanos foundation, to raise awareness on the matter.
Habiba’s father alleged that his daughter was kidnapped from school, Government Senior Secondary School, Kudun Kankara, Kastina State by Jamilu and has been forcefully converted to Islam and married off by the Emir without her parents consent to Lawal. According to Tanko, Jamilu had not only admitted to abducting his daughter but also revealed that she is presently being kept at the Palace of the Emir of Katsina. He alleged that the Emir had informed him that his daughter had been converted to Islam and he had received the sum of N50, 000 as dowry from Jamilu.
“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. He accused me of defaming him at the Police Station and I was threatened, intimidated and coerced to sign an apology drafted on my behalf in his Palace. 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.”
Programme Coordinator for Stafanos Foundation, Mark Lipdo, a Non-Governmental Organization assisting the parents with the release of Habiba stated.
“We have been trying to intervene in the conflicts going on in Nigeria, we believe in the human rights of all citizens and encourage that fundamental rights be upheld at all times to maintain a sane society. Many times we call on the appropriate authorities to act like in the case of Habiba Isiyaku, such incidents can make conflicts continue in Nigeria. Habiba is a girl that just completed her Junior Secondary school and had very good grades, she had so much prospects only to be abducted, when her parents were invited to the Emirs palaceN she was brought out in a hijab and he told them that they no longer have any relationship with the girl anymore because she has been converted to Islam and that he the Emir of Katsina has now become the father of the girl and he can do whatever he wants with her. After a few days that the father was sent back, we followed with the Commissioner of Police to try to get the girl, we took a lawyer with us as Stefanos Foundation to stand with the parents to demand for their rights but the rights where denied, we petitioned the Inspector General (IG) of Police here in Abuja to see if he can secure the girls release but till date, he is yet to respond, we brought the parents to Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) for help, to see if they can help secure her release and they said that they will be following the matter up with the IG, but up till today, nothing, we have been in this town for three days now we have not heard anything from CAN and the IG. The girl is a minor and things like this has to stop happening in this country because if it continues, people are going to result to self-help because where a person has been told his right but he it has been deliberately refused it, if the person has any strength, he will result to self-help.”