Forced marriage: How 13-year-old girl regained freedom from Emir’s palace


A 13-year-old, Hauwa Dadi on Sunday regained her freedom, four days after being allegedly abducted for the purpose of forcing her into a marriage.

Hauwa, an SS1 student of the Brighter Academy Secondary School, Gashua, Yobe State, is a daughter of a former Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria.

Punch reports that she had been abducted and allegedly kept at the palace of the Emir of Gashua for “Islamic evangelism”.

A civil rights organisation, Stefanos Foundation, had raised alarm over the matter.

The Christian community and Evangelical Church Winning All in Bade Local Government Area of Yobe State were thrown into confusion, following the abduction of the teenager.

Gashua Police Area Commander, Joseph Aloefuna, confirmed that the case was brought to his knowledge by the Gashua Divisional Police Officer.

Aloefuna said: “I wasn’t directly involved but the DPO said he was involved and he confirmed that he was invited into the matter.

“There was this boy who was said to have insisted on marrying the girl (Hauwa). They are in the same school.

“The matter was reported to the school management and the boy was punished and warned to stop harassing the girl.

“Later, the girl was abducted and the boy was the prime suspect. The boy was arrested but claimed that the girl ran to the Emir’s palace because she wanted to convert to Islam.

“The Emir took her to the Chief Imam; the Chief Imam said the girl was scared but he was asked to take her to the welfare officials instead of keeping her in his custody.

“We took the statement of everybody concerned. The Chief Imam said there was going to be a meeting on the matter.”

Before her release, the mother of the girl, Deborah, had, in an interview, given a detailed account of how the abduction plot was perfected.

Deborah said: “On Thursday afternoon, I had a meeting in ECWA Church, Gashua. Her twin brother, Zachariah, took wheelbarrow to fetch water for us. My daughter removed her uniform, put on her personal clothes and left.

“When one of her sisters asked her where she was going, Hauwa said she was going to fetch water with Zachariah and disappeared.

“But before the incident, there has been one boy who claimed to love her and wanted to marry her. He told her to convert to Islam.”

The mother recalled that when she went to look for her daughter, she heard that she had been abducted by her neighbours and was taken to the Imam of Gashua, Babu Alkali Mamman.

Deborah then reported the matter to one Inspector Melody Habila at the Gashua Police Command.

But when Imam Alkali was invited to the police command, he pleaded to be allowed to take the Jumma’at prayers before coming but he never showed up.

Instead, the Imam’s lawyer later came to the police station and invited Deborah to the Emir’s palace.

When Deborah went to the palace, she was asked to come back, but on reaching there at 4pm, she was neither given her daughter nor allowed to see the Emir again.


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