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05/28/2020 Nigeria (The Christian Post) – A Nigerian man was sentenced to 26 years in prison for abducting a Christian teenager from her home and forcing her into Islamic marriage in 2015. A federal high court in Bayelsa State sentenced Yunusa Dahiru for the abduction of Ese Oruru. In August 2015, Oruru was abducted at the age of 14 from her mother’s shop by Dahiru. The teenage girl was taken across state lines to the Muslim-majority Kano state, where she was allegedly raped, forced to accept Islam, and married to her captor. Additionally, her name was changed to “Aisha,” the name of one of the wives of Islam’s prophet Muhammad.

Her abduction gained media attention as her parents raised public awareness even though they faced much harassment by trying to get their daughter back. Although the mother petitioned the local emir for her daughter’s release, her request was unsuccessful. CSW states that on two occasions, the mother was insulted and assaulted by people in the village as well as refused access to her daughter. Months later in February 2016, state police rescued Ese Oruru. It was revealed that the teenager was five months pregnant with a daughter.

After the sentencing decision was made, Ese’s father praised the court by stating the following in an interview with the independent Nigerian daily newspaper, “I’m very happy and grateful because I see that all my suffering is not in vain. This case will serve as a deterrent to others who traffic people’s children. I thank God that truth has prevailed. I and my family are very happy.” Dahiru was charged with conspiracy to commit an abduction in violation of an anti-trafficking law. Criminal proceedings against Dahiru began in March 2016 but he was initially let out on bail. He was later rearrested for failing to appear in court.

These types of incidents are relatively common in Northern Nigeria, especially the 12 states that have Sharia law. ICC has worked to help several girls get reestablished after their release in the past two years.  Girls like Ese often struggle with major mental and emotion pain for years following these abductions. most of the time however, the men are not punished at all. Thankfully, this time her was. Please pray for Ese and her family.

For interviews, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected].