This is the shocking and sad story of another abduction of a girl who was forcefully taken away from her parents by an Islamic cleric in Zamfara state who converted and married her by force.
Lucy was abducted and forcefully married by an Islamic cleric (Photo:Punch)
This is yet another shocking story of abduction, forceful conversion and marriage of a girl by an Islamic cleric.
The story of Mr. Ejeh, and his wife who lived in Talata Mafara town, headquarters of the Talata Mafara Local Government Area of Zamfara State whose daughter was abducted, converted and married by an Islamic cleric identified as Alhaji Awaisu is yet another worrisome situation showing that the authorities whose responsibility it is to protect ordinary Nigerians are sleeping.
The story which first appeared on Punch is told below;
On October 31, 2009, their 15-year-old daughter, Lucy, was abducted. Luckily for the couple, Lucy was found on November 3, 2009— three days after.
According to her parents, the teenager was found in the house of an Islamic cleric, named Alhaji Awaisu. Her father, however said the teenager was not allowed to follow them home and that she was kept in Awaisu’s house to the knowledge of the police.
Lucy, who was born and raised a Catholic, was said to have been immediately converted to Islam and her name changed to Lewusa.
Due to their persistent moves to retrieve Lucy, the Ejehs became subjects of intimidation and harassment by relatives and followers of Lucy’s abductor in Talata Mafara.
A sad Ejeh said, “We had to leave the town in 2010 due to the level of death threats I was receiving from the community. My other children received threats whenever they went out to fetch water or run other errands. Also, due to my persistent demand for my child, the management of the bank, where I worked, advised me to leave the town and redeployed me to its branch in Lafia, the Nasarawa State capital in 2010.”
By 2012, he was asked to resign due to his frequent travels to Zamfara State in order to secure his daughter’s release. Then, he relocated to Nasarawa State, where he got another job with a security firm.
Ejeh has not seen his daughter till today. As if their trauma of the last five years was not enough, only about a fortnight ago, Ejeh and his wife received calls from the abductor of their child that he was about to marry Lucy.
“When he called me, I told him never to try it, but he said he would go ahead with the plan and there was nothing we could do to stop it. He said we should do our worst,” Mrs. Ejeh
Lucy’s father also confirmed that he received a similar call from Awaisu. “I asked him if he was her biological father, but he said I should do my worst. But, on March 1, he (Awaisu) called me again that the wedding had taken place on Saturday (February 27),” he said.
Lucy, the second of a family of seven children —four girls and three boys— was at the time she was kidnapped, a Senior Secondary School 1 pupil of Government Girls College, Talata Mafara, in Zamfara State.
According to Mr. Ejeh, one of his relatives, James Oblaka, sent a petition dated November 12, 2009, and addressed to the Executive Secretary of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons, reporting the incident.
The petition bears the NAPTIP’s acknowledgment stamp that the agency received it on November 13, 2009. He said NAPTIP responded to the petition by sending two officials to Talata Mafara to investigate the case.
“When the two men discussed with me, they said they needed to meet with the Emir. They later returned from the Emir’s place, promising to get back to me but I have never heard from them since then,” he said.
He also provided a copy of another letter of complaint dated January 28, 2010, sent to the then Inspector-General of Police, Mr. Ogbonaya Onovo.
The letter, which was also signed by Oblaka on behalf of the Ejehs, bore the stamp of the office of the Inspector-General of Police which shows that it was received on February 3, 2010. But David said he never got any response from the Force Headquarters.
The helpless parents have left their case in the hand of God because they cannot fight the institution. The only way they can get back their daughter is if the authorities though complacent can stand up to its responsibilities and do the needful.