Written by Ere-ebi AGEDAH

Family Accuses Emir of Katsina of Forcefully Marrying Daughter

Mr. Isiyaku Tanko of Warkaza community in Kudun Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State, has accused the Emir of Katsina of forcefully marrying his 14-year-old daughter, Habiba Isiyaku, converting her to Islam without the consent and approval of him or any member of his family.

While speaking with journalists in Abuja, the father of Habiba, Tanko, who spoke through his lawyer, Yakubu Bawa, lamented the manner which the Emir Palace manhandled him in his attempt to secure his daughter release.

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

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 the family to secure the release of their daughter.

He also complained about the mishandling of the matter by 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, 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 father is 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 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 Habibas father 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), 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.

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.

Also speaking, Chief Executive Officer of Fantastic Mum Nigeria, 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.

However, Katsina emirate has denied reports that it had forcefully converted a 14-year-old girl, Habiba Isah Tanko, from Christianity to Islam.

The emirate spoke through Kauran Katsina, Alhaji Abdulkadir Nuhu, who said the girl willingly converted to Islam and was not forced to do so.

He said the girl’s parents had come to the emirate where she was asked if she was in anyway forced to convert and marry; but she replied in the negative.

Nuhu also said the girl on her own decided to get married to Jamilu, and had decided on her own not to go back to her parent’s home.


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