Katsina Forced Marriage: Police Intervene As Reps Move To Investegate
SAN FRANCISCO, October 18, (THEWILL) – The Katsina State Police Command has ordered Habiba Isa, the 14-year-old girl who was allegedly converted to Islam and forced into marriage, to return to her parents' house.
The order was given by the state Police Commissioner, Usman Abdullahi, at a press conference in Katsina, declaring that at her age, she was too young to take any decision on marriage and religion.
Abdullahi said the Police became aware of the matter in September after a petition was submitted at the command headquarters by a law chamber, Bawa, Bawa & Partners, on behalf of Isa's parents which accused Lawal of abduction and forced marriage.
He said the command thereafter invited her alleged abductor, Jamilu Lawal, and that the command had no choice but to release him on bail as investigation into the case absolved him of any criminal act.
“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,” he said.
“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.”
“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, as well as the association's officials from the Kankara Local Government Area, to a meeting.
“Also present at the meeting, 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.
“In view of the foregoing, I want to advise the girl to go back to her parents. The Police is not a party to the changing of the girl's faith. The Police is not aware of any marriage; and if there is any marriage, the Police is not a party to it.”
Meanwhile, the House of Representatives has moved to investigate the reported abduction and forceful marriage of Isa.
The house adopted a motion from Nnana Igbokwe and directed its Committee on Women Affairs to investigate the allegation.
Story by Oputah David