By Ibrahim Umar
Police have claimed they were not party to the arranged marriage of a teenager, Habiba Isa, in Katsina. The marriage was said to have been contracted by the Emir of Katsina Abdulkadir Usman to one of his aides, Jamilu Lawal. Speaking on the matter, Usman Abdullahi, commissioner of police for the state, clarified the police only became aware of the said marriage via a petition by lawyers to the parents of the child bride.
Contrary to earlier claims, the police also said the child bride was not abducted before she was married off.
“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.
“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 police said the child bribe, her father, his brothers, their lawyers and chairman of the Christian Association of Nigeria (Katsina branch) were called to a meeting, attended also by 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 are not party to the changing of the girl’s faith.
“The police are not aware of any marriage; and if there is any marriage, the police are not a party to it,” the commissioner said.