Parent of a Christian 16-year-old girl are crying out for help following the decision of a Sharia court sitting in Erena to forcefully marry their daughter Janet Habila, to her Muslim tailor boss, Nasiru.
According to Sun News, this happened in Erena district of Shiroro Local Government Area, Niger State. (above is a picture of the girl’s mother)
Janet was an apprentice in Nasiru’s tailoring institute in Erena, where her father, devoted church leader with the United Mountain of Grace in Shundna village, had enrolled her in 2016 to learn the trade after she refused to further her education beyond primary school.
Janet until recently was the leader of the Sabo Rayi (new life) group in the church. Her parents as a way of empowering her, enrolled her to learn the tailoring trade but were shocked to receive a notification of her marriage through a Sharia court in Erena. Nasiru, a Nigerien national who settled in Erena, was said to have approached the court to join him and Janet as husband and wife without seeking the consent and approval of the parents.
“According to a source close to the family of the girl, Nasiru was said to have craftily organized some Muslim men and women in the area to stand as the parents of Janet in court to enable the marriage to take place.
“Habila Gambo, Janet’s father told Sunday Sun that unless the decision the Sharia court, presided over Umar Shehu to forcefully marry his daughter out to her Muslim boss without his consent was reversed, “it will eventually lead to a possible religious crisis in Erena.” Gambo warned that even if such illegality had happened elsewhere and they get away with it, “Erena and its environs would be thrown into confusion and possible anarchy the practice of forced conversion and marriage.
Narrating what happened further Gambo said: “To my surprise, on March 16, 2017, I came back home and met a court summon, asking me to report at the Sharia Court, Erena. On getting to the court, I was told that my daughter had converted to Islam and that her marriage had been fixed for 2:00pm that same day. I told the Sharia court judge that as a father of Janet, I was not aware of such arrangement because my daughter never discussed anything like that with me. Therefore, I was not going to accept it and I would not be part of it.
“But to my surprise the judge told me that the court only wanted to inform me and that was all. He said that the marriage would go on as planned even without my consent. My daughter had never told me that she wanted to convert to Islam not to talk of marrying a Muslim, I paid a lot of money to train her and I would not allow this to happen while I am alive.”
Gambo reported the matter to the Niger State Police Command through a formal letter, urging the police to intervene and rescue his daughter from what he called an “unlawful marriage”. Following his complaint, the police promptly arrested Nasiru and detained him at the State Criminal Investigation Department (CID), Minna. Janet who was as asked to narrate what transpired, Janet told the police that she could not recall what actually happened but that she discovered that she was taking every instruction from Nasiru.
“I was confused, I didn’t know what happened, but I was taking every instruction from him (Nasiru). I was afraid to let my parents know because of the consequences and I was equally afraid to turn down Nasiru’s love advances even though inside me I didn’t like the idea.”
After taking her statement, Janet was handed over to the parents and were asked to return to the police after five days while investigation into the matter continued. Shockingly, when they returned to the police headquarters, Janet demanded that she should be allowed to say something, which, according to her, had been bothering her since she was handed over to her parents. She declared that she was not returning home with her parents as she was ready to join her husband, Nasiru.
Her father broke down in tears and wept uncontrollably as he watched his daughter being handed over to Nasiru the police because the court had earlier pronounced them husband and wife and it was only the same court that could dissolve the marriage. He has now promised to challenge them with the last drop of his blood blood, saying ‘This will never happen in my life time. My daughter is not a stray animal, and even a stray animal has owner. Nobody can take my daughter from me for free without my consent.’
Janet’s mother, Asabe Gambo was also assaulted Nasiru’s relations when she went to visit her daughte. Narrating the experience, Asabe said: “I only wanted see my daughter when the women in the house gathered and started beating me and calling me unbeliever who should not be welcome into the house. They told me that my daughter was now a Muslim and, therefore, did not need any unbeliever around her. They didn’t allow me to even sight my daughter with my eyes. I am seriously in pain, as a mother who carried her pregnancy for nine months,” she lamented. “I want God to take my life instead of experiencing this kind of situation as a mother. This is quite unfortunate, I don’t want to believe that this is happening to me. My daughter’s sudden change of attitude is not ordinary. As a Christian, I strongly believe that God will surely pass his judgement over this unfortunate experience. My daughter will surely regain her senses and return back home.”