Child marriage is one of the many complex and daunting facets of persecution. Young Christian girls are abducted and raped, then forced to convert and marry their Muslim captors in Nigeria. Recently, the victimization of girls by Muslim radicals came to to light when over 200 school girls were abducted by Boko Haram on April 14th 2014. According to those few who managed to escape or be released, girls were either married off to Boko Haram soldiers. Those who refused were made slaves and forced to serve the soldiers.
11/15/2016 Nigeria (World Watch Monitor) – When the Northern States’ Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) recently met President Buhari at his Presidential Villa (3 Nov), they asked him to warn Northern Nigeria’s traditional rulers against child marriage. They said the trend was already gathering “a cloud of crisis” and would cause a serious crisis if not checked. They cited one recent abduction and forcible conversion to Islam of a Christian school girl in Northern Nigeria as symptomatic of the trend.
Habiba Isiyaku, 14, from Wawar Kaza village, Kankara Local Government Area, in the mainly Muslim state of Katsina, was abducted on 16 August while returning home from school. She was eventually married to one of her abductors, Jamilu Lawal. Her forced marriage was allegedly agreed by the Emir (ruler) of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumuni Usman who was said to have collected 50,000 Naira [about US$160] as dowry from Lawal, a member of staff in the Emir’s palace.
Habiba’s father, Isiyaku Tanko, who told of the ordeal of his daughter on a satellite TV station (AIT), called on the authorities and well-meaning Nigerians to assist him to secure her release.
“My little girl was abducted…on her way from school. After my investigations, I discovered that Jamilu Lawal, who lives in our community, was responsible for my daughter’s disappearance”.
Tanko said that the matter was reported to the Police Commissioner in Katsina and a meeting between him and the abductors, along with his daughter, was held in the office of the police chief. But while the police commissioner condemned the act, he didn’t arrest the culprits nor was his daughter released to her father, and she was taken back the palace of the Emir.