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Police Issue Statement On Girl, 14, Who Was Forcefully Married Off By Emir Of Katsina

Police Issue Statement On Girl, 14, Who Was Forcefully Married Off By Emir Of Katsina

Last week, it was reported that one of the aides of the Emir of Katsina, HRH. Alhaji Abdulmummuni Kabir UsmanJamilu Lawal, kidnapped a 14-year-old christian girl, Habiba Isa and forcefully converted her to Islam (read here). The Emir allegedly married her off to Jamilu subsequently without her parents’ consent.

Following Jamilu‘s arrest, he revealed that Habiba is being kept at the palace of the Emir and all efforts by her father to secure her release, including appealing to Emir, proved abortive.

The Katsina State Police Command has now finally reacted to the issue. According to a new report by Punch, speaking at a press conference in Katsina yesterday, the state police commissioner, Usman Abdullahi, said:

”It was gathered that the girl was neither “kidnapped, abducted nor procured,” as she was the one who willingly left her parents’ house to the house of the Chairman of Hisbah, who took her to their village head and later to the district head of Kankara, where she explained that she had converted to Islam.

This was contained in the statement she gave willingly to the police. It was on this note that the suspect (Lawal) was released since the case of alleged kidnapping and abduction could not be established against him.”

Furthermore, he said the command also invited Isa’s father, Isyaku Tanko; his two brothers, whose names were not given; their lawyer, state and local government chairmen of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), as well as the association’s officials from the Kankara Local Government Area, to a meeting.

Also present at the meeting, according to the commissioner, were Lawal, his father, the representatives of the Emir of Katsina and  some senior police officers.

”At the meeting, Isa, in addition to the written statement, said she decided on her own to leave her parents’ house for Kankara town, where she converted to Islam, without the influence of Lawal.

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In view of the foregoing, I want to advise the girl to go back to her parents. The police are not party to the changing of the girl’s faith.

The police are not aware of any marriage; and if there is any marriage, the police are not a party to it,” the commissioner added.

Abdullahi said the police became aware of the matter last month (September) after a petition was submitted at the command headquarters by a legal chamber, Bawa, Bawa & Partners, accusing Lawal of abduction and forced marriage.

Photo credit: Punch

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