The Katsina Emirate Council on Thursday declared that the marriage between a 14-year-old girl, Habiba Isa, and the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Usman, was irreversible, PUNCH reports.
Isa was reportedly abducted by one Jamilu Lawal, who is an aide of the Emir, on August 16, 2016 and was converted to Islam and held incommunicado.
The family of Isiyaku Tanko of Warkaza community in the Kudun Kankara Local Government Area of the state had alleged that the Emir abducted the girl and forced her to marry him.
Isa’s father had complained about the matter to a a humanitarian civil rights organisation, Stefanos Foundation, that took over the matter.
The Emirate Council said the marriage and Isa’s conversion to Islam were voluntarily and willingly entered into by the girl.
The Emirate Council told officials of the Katsina State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), during a visit to the Emir, that no evidence suggests that the girl was forced to act against her wish.
When the CAN officials visited, the Kaora Katsina, Alhaji Nuhu Abdulkadir, called the girl in and asked her three questions on behalf of the Emirate Council.
He asked if she was forcefully converted to Islam, the girl said ‘No’. She also replied ‘No’ when she was asked if she was forced to marry the 64-year-old Emir.
Isa replied ‘Yes’ when she was asked if she was already experiencing monthly flow when she met the Emir.
Abdulkadir 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.”
According to the report, Abdulkadir 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.
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.
“This girl (Isa) standing before us is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school and not given out in marriage.
We 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,” he said.
Isa, who will turn 15 on October 15, was said to have passed her Junior Secondary School Certificate Examination and was expected to start Senior Secondary School.
Photo Credit: Olaide Oyelude/PUNCH