NIGERIAN NEWS UPDATE – THE Katsina Emirate Council on Thursday
declared that the marriage between 14-year-old girl, Habiba Isa, and the
Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman, was irreversible.
The council said the marriage and Isa’s conversion to Islam were voluntarily and willingly entered into by the girl.
council told officials of the Katsina State chapter of the Christian
Association of Nigeria, who visited Usman in his palace over the issue,
that there was no evidence that the 14-year-old girl was forced to act
against her wish.
The family of Isiyaku Tanko of
Warkaza community in the Kudun Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina
State on Wednesday alleged that Usman forcefully abducted their
14-year-old daughter and forced her into marrying him.
was said to have been abducted on August 16, 2016, by one Jamilu Lawal,
an aide of the emir, who worked in the palace. She was converted to
Islam and held incommunicado.
Isa is expected to clock
15 years on Saturday, October 15, 2016, and would have resumed school
for the new academic term, but for her abduction.
was said to have passed her Junior Secondary School Certificate
Examination and was expected to start Senior Secondary School.
incident was blown open when the father of the victim lodged a
complaint with Stefanos Foundation, a humanitarian civil rights
organisation, which took over the matter.
allowed to appear before CAN officials and others in the palace on
Thursday, and was asked three questions by the Kaora Katsina, Alhaji
Nuhu Abdulkadir, on behalf of the emirate council.
She was asked whether she was forcefully converted to Islam, to which she replied no.
was also asked whether the emirate council or any other person forced
her into the marriage with the emir, to which she also answered no.
third question was whether by the time she met her husband, she was
already experiencing menstrual period, to which she answered yes.
Kaora Katsina said, “The three questions are in line with the dictates
of the Islamic religion. Since Isa has voluntarily answered the three
questions in our presence, there is no going back on her marriage.”
explained that in as much as the emirate council would not want to be
involved in the controversy surrounding the marriage, the palace of the
emir was open to all Nigerians irrespective of religion and tribe.
letter purportedly written by Isa’s father was read to the gathering,
apologising to the emirate council for any embarrassment the issue might
have caused it (the council).
The CAN Chairman for
Katsina State, Very Rev. Nelson Ugochukwu, however, told the emirate
council that Isa’s marriage did not have the consent of her parents, who
he said, were crying for justice in Abuja.
The CAN leader said the association was not in support of the marriage and her conversion to Islam.
He said, “This girl (Isa) standing before us is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school and not given out in marriage.
are not pleased and we demand justice. Her parents are in Abuja, crying
for justice. In my religion, you cannot give out any lady in marriage
without the consent of her parents. This marriage does not have the
consent of this little girl’s parent. The parents are not happy with
what has happened.
“As the CAN chairman in Katsina, I
am the father of all Christians in the state. Our people are not happy.
The parents told me that the girl is 14 years. She is supposed to be in
school. I want justice to be done in this matter. I want the emirate to
look into the matter. To us, the girl is still a Christian.”