Family Accuses Emir of Katsina of Abducting, Forcefully Marrying a Christian Minor

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  • Girl misses school resumption
  • Police, CAN ignore plea to intervene
  • CP bungles rescue move
  • Royal father compels girl’s father to make undertaking under duress

Paul Obi in Abuja

The family of Mr. Isiyaku Tanko of Warkaza community in Kudun Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, yesterday accused the Emir of Katsina of forcefully abducting and marrying their 14-year-old daughter, Habiba Isiyaku, denying her of her constitutional rights.
Habiba was alleged to have been abducted on August 16, 2016, by an official of Emir of Katsina and staff in the palace, Jamilu Lawal.

Speaking with journalists in Abuja, the father of Habiba, Mr. Isiyaku Tanko, who spoke through his lawyer, Yakubu Bawa, decried the manner which the Emir Palace manhandled him in his attempt to secure his daughter.

Tanko who was accompanied to the briefing by his eldest daughter, Mrs. Hajara Suleman, cried profusely, begging for the rescue of Habiba and calling on Nigerians to assist them return their daughter.

He also complained about the mishandling of the matter by both the Inspector General of Police (IG), Ibrahim Idris, and the Katsina State Commissioner of Police, Usman Abdullahi.
Speaking on the matter, Bawa said: “Because she is under a guardian and the control of her parents, now until she clocks 18 that’s the age of maturity and accountability. The second point is that Habiba cannot be forcefully converted to Islam by the Emir of Katsina, His Royal Highness, Alhaji AbdulMumin Kabiru Usman.

“He has no right to do that. The third point to look at is the fact that the Commissioner of Police; this was a helpless man, a vulnerable man that called Stefanos Foundatiaon to come to his aid to secure the release of his daughter.

“And when the CP summoned the parties concerned in his office, what baffled me of which my heart is still bleeding is the fact that ordinary security detail gave an instruction that Emir has instructed him that when the girl was brought to his office that he’s under instruction to bring back the girl to the of palace of the emir.

“And yet the CP who has the entire command under his control could not even take a position but unfortunately succumbed to the instruction of an ordinary detail and release that girl back to the palace.

“He instructed the man to go the palace the following day and receive his daughter. For me, with due respect, the CP has failed in his constitutional duties as enshrined in the Police Act.
“On reaching the emir, all that this man was confronted with was for him to sit on the floor and the emir demanded to introduce the matter through his aide, the Kilishin Katsina, to tell him that ‘since your daughter has converted, she came with hijab. She couldn’t look at her mum and her father. He said since she has converted, there is a big barrier between you and your daughter now.

“The man said if my daughter has converted to Islam, give me my daughter to go and practice her newly found faith in my house. The Kilishin Katsina said no, that it’s not possible.”
Bawa stated: “The Emir then said the man has committed a crime, he was compelled under duress, in this statement, they forced the man to say that the complaint he made to the police was not true. He left the palace shattered, helpless and emotional broken.

“Habiba is about two months now in captivity.” The abduction and procurement of a Christian minor, Habiba Isiyaku, by the Emir of Katsina as vicious, barbaric, callous acts and atrocities done to Christians not only in Katsina but the entire North west of Nigeria.”

Also speaking, an official of Stefanos Foundation, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), Mr. Mark Lipdo, decried the pain the family have been going through since the forceful abduction of their daughter.

Lipdo further stated that “Habiba is expected to clock 15 years on October 15, 2016, and would have resumed school in the new academic term.”

He said Habiba passed her Junior secondary school examination in flying colours and was expected to start Senior Secondary School (SSS1) this new term.

It was also revealed that attempts to make the IG, Idris, intervene in the matter received no positive response from Police Headquarters in Abuja.

Idris also failed to respond to the letter forwarded to his office calling on the police to secure Habiba from her abductors.

To make matter worst, the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) were said to have failed to show commitment in rescuing Habiba.

Even when they were contacted in October, the dilly-dally approach adopted discouraged the family from pushing forward.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Fantastic Mum Nigeria (FMN), Mrs. Joy Akanonu, pleaded with President Muhammadu Buhari and his wife of the Aisha to intervene and secure Habiba.
Akanonu tasked the president to intervene given that the matter originated from his home state of Katsina.