Her name is Aisha Mazadu Bala, a 14-year-old from Gidan Mato Sambirni, Maigana Soba Local Government Area of Kaduna State. A pure Hausa girl from the Christian faith.
On the most recent Sallah day (on 25th June 2017), Aisha went to Sambirni from Gidan Mato to buy some drugs for some minor health challenge she had. Unfortunately for her, she couldn’t make it back to her home. On her way back home, a young Muslim man by the name Bello Chiroma who earlier threatened to marry her by force kidnapped her with the support of the District head of Sambirni, Sarki Haruna and their Islamic clerics. As they planned, he kidnapped her and took her away from Sambirni to the palace of the Hakeemi of Maigana. She stays there for four days after which the Hakeemi sent for her parents to come. On reaching the palace, to their greatest shock, they saw their daughter fully dressed in Islamic attires. The Hakeemi told them that he summoned them to come to let them know that their daughter is not lost; she is now in good hands. That she is now a Muslim and she will be married to the boy who kidnapped her the following week (precisely on Friday 6th July 2017). And as of from that time, she will not be able to stay with them, because she is now a Muslim, and a Muslim cannot live with a Christian. She will be provided with Islamic parents who will now replace her infidel biological parents.
When the news came to us at Voice for the Emancipation of the Hausa Christians in Nigeria (VEHCIN) we went to Sambirni on 30th June 2017 to confirm the story. On reaching there, we discovered that it is true. A young Muslim man, who enjoys the protection of their district head to commit any crime even to the tone of kidnapping, kidnapped a girl, and even after knowing the where about of the girl, the parents were out-rightly denied access to their own daughter. She now has new parents who will marry her out to her kidnapper. Imagine this happening to a Muslim by Christians, Nigeria would have been a pool of blood and rubbles of burnt houses and properties. Instead of the king to punish this barbaric act, he denied knowing what happened and then began to associate it to Islam, just to cover up for the boy and then justify their evil act.
We know that kidnapping is a punishable offence in Nigeria, but for this boy, it became a thing of pride. He moves about freely and bragging that he has done something commendable in Islam. After all, she is a Christian, an infidel.
The Voice for the Emancipation of the Hausa Christians in Nigeria, went back to Maigana on 3rd July 2017 and had a daylong meeting with all the parties responsible for the snatching and holding this 14 years old Aisha captive and keeping her away from her parents. CAN Chairman, Soba LGA, JNI Chairman Soba LGA, the Council of the Hakeemi Palace, the Sole Administrator and team of Soba LGA and then Representative of DPO of the LGA and others were all present. At the end of the day, we reached a conclusion that the girl be brought to the police station. They went and spent about three hours and then returned without the girl, on the ground that it is late and if they return the girl to her parents there could be violence from their people. They then promised to give the girl back to her family the following day 4th July 2017 by 12noon. When the day came, after another intensive discussion, they brought the girl and did as if they will give the girl back to us, the secretary of the Hakeemi said that, the Sole Administrator said they should not give the girl until the following day, after they have a security meeting on the issue which the Sole Administrator summoned on 5th of July, 2017. Out of respect for authority, we patiently waited for the following day. From 9 am to 7 pm they refused to release the girl. They pretended as if they will hand over the girl to us, and then the Sarki of Sambirni raised another motion that handing over the girl to her parents will give rise to a serious uproar from his people. That while in the meeting they have been calling to know who the girl is given to. On that baseless point, they halted the giving of the girl back to her parents. That they will hand her over to Social Welfare service Department to stay with them for another two weeks. After which they will call the girl and ask her if she wishes to return to her parents or remain with her captors.
We will like to shed some light on this. Most people use to wonder why mostly our kidnapped ladies will openly deny their parents and even their faith. Kidnapping our ladies is an intentional agenda by the Muslims in Northern Nigeria. And so, the moment they kidnap them, they forcefully subject them to different rituals, incantations and charms. So many spirits will be invoked upon them that they will never be able to speak with their right senses except what their Muslim captors want them to say. And so, as long as they stay with them, they will only but speak what their captors programmed their minds to say. That is why we will never accept any statement the girl will make because she is not the one speaking. She is under the influence of the spirit they invoked upon her. By the way, a fourteen-year-old girl is still under the protection and care of her parents. It is what her parents decide for her that stands. She is still a minor, and worse to that under a terrible spell, she will not be able to speak the truth of what she needs for herself.
We know that the Quran said there is no compulsion of religion, (Quran 2:256). Then the question is why do they derive joy in forcing people through violence and all forms of manipulations into the religion they said no one should be forced into it?
Section 38 (1) of the 1999 constitution and Article 18 of the Universal Declaration of Human Right, provide: “Every person shall be entitled to freedom of thought, conscience and religion, including freedom to change his religion or belief, and freedom (either alone or in community with others, and in public or in private) to manifest and propagate his religion or belief in worship, teaching, practice and observance.” Why is it then in northern Nigeria, certain people keep negating what the constitution said and still go unpunished. They rather get accolades and federal and state might to support them violate the rights of others?
The Criminal Code Act, CAP C38, LFN 2004, also provides a penalty for kidnapping. The law provides in Section 364 that –
“Any person who –
- Unlawfully imprisons any person, and takes him out of Nigeria without his consent; or
- Unlawfully imprisons any person within Nigeria in such a manner as to prevent him from applying to a court for his release or from discovering to any other person the place where he is imprisoned, or in such a manner as to prevent any person entitled to have access to him from discovering the place where he is imprisoned,
Is guilty of a felony and is liable to imprisonment for ten years. “
Since kidnapping is a punishable offence, why should the district head of Sambirni keep backing and protecting the person who kidnapped a 14-year-old girl, abused her mind and cause terrible pains on her parents and her family? Is it because the person is his in-law? What is the role of the Sole Administrator of Soba Local Government? Are these people above the law that even the authority are afraid of the impending violence that is obviously instigated and sponsored by the district head of Sambirni to cause mayhem on the community whose girl was stolen from if she is returned to them? Is nurturing this evil more important than healing the painful wounds inflicted on the parents, family and community of this girl?
We kept asking this question, how are maltreatments like this a pathway to a sustainable peace. If there are people who should be violent about this issue, they should be the people whose daughter, sister and granddaughter was forcefully stolen from them, and then forcefully converted to the religion she will never choose when in her right senses. Instead of us taking the law into our hands, we chose the way of maturity, due process and still, they showed to us that the only thing a Christian deserves from a Muslim is injustice.
I remember seeing the mother of this girl in anguish, weeping night and day and going up and down to see the return of her daughter, but all she kept getting is injustice, abuse and denial of what belongs to her simply because she is a Christian.
The people, who supposed to be protecting us, are the ones harming us. They don’t rest when they see us happy. They get irritated when they see us in peace. How long will our traditional rulers keep sponsoring evil against their subjects and use religion as a cover for the harm they always cause us?
Nigeria is our country. The north is our heritage. Come what may, that is where we belong.
One thing that keeps coming out from the mouth of these people in all our meetings with them is the bragging that they own the top and the bottom. In other words, they will always win irrespective of where we go. That is why in all the meetings we had with all the parties involved, even at the security meeting of yesterday (5th July 2017), they could only but grant the evil wish of their people against us instead of doing the right thing.
We call on all our people especially the youths in Kaduna state and Nigeria to be patient until we see whether their claim of owing both the top and the bottom at all the levels as seen at the Local Government level is also true at the State and Federal levels. We don’t want to take the law into our hands yet. We thank you all for complying with what we pleaded with you to do. We are still watching!
As the voice of the entire Hausa Christians in Nigeria, we want to make the following very clear, as far as achieving a lasting peace is concerned in Kaduna state and Nigeria at large:
- We are calling for an immediate justice from both the Kaduna State Government and the Federal Government.
- We demand that Aisha be immediately reunited back to her family. The Hakeemi of Maigana is not her father. The Muslim communities have no right to give her their so-called Islamic parents. Her parents and her entire family are alive.
- We reject any further delay. We strongly reject their decision to keep her with any social welfare department. There is no any safe welfare than that of her parents.
- We also want the State and Federal government to hold the District head of Sambirni responsible for any mayhem caused by the hoodlums he breeds in that community after the girl is handed over to her parent.
- We demand the immediate arrest of that boy who enjoys the cover of the district head to be prosecuted for kidnapping a girl he threatened to marry by all means.
- We demand that all damages should be paid by the boy for causing her parents anguish for all this while.
- Finally, we discover that they keep playing with our intelligence just to achieve their aim, and so, we reject any further actions by them to further delay the release of our Daughter Aisha. We reject any Court case on this issue. We simply demand the immediate release and reunion of Aisha with her parents.
The only path to a lasting peace is when the Muslims release our Aisha and stop any future maltreatment to our people.
If Nigeria must live as one, we must learn to respect our individual differences, we must give people the privilege to live and enjoy life, and we must see everyone as equal. Nothing deters Nigeria from moving forward like religious sentiment. Our people cannot continue to endure denials of what everybody is entitled to.
We are Nigerians. We are not settlers; we have our true origins as the sons and daughters of the soil. Stop giving our people Certificate of settlers and then give a person from Niger Republic Indigeneship certificate simply because he or she is a Muslims. Stop the indiscriminate taking of our farm lands from us and selling it or transfer the ownership to your people. Stop treating us like slaves in our own land. We deserved to be treated with respect and equal privileges. We are not second class citizens. We are not inferior to anyone in Nigeria. Hausa is our tribe, we didn’t learn it, we were born with, and in it. We didn’t migrate, the North is originally ours. We contribute immensely to the positive development of Nigeria. We deserve much more than we are given. We cannot succumb to any form of threat. Justice has to be done now. Any further delay could be highly disastrous.
God bless the Hausa Christians! (You keep waxing stronger even though you went through a lot of hell)
God bless our original and inherited home, the Northern Nigeria.
God bless Kaduna State
God bless Nigeria.
The Voice For the Emancipation of the Hausa Christians in Nigeria takes full responsibility of whatever is written on this issue. We have our records and recordings, and we are always ready to grant audience to anyone interested. But we can never bow down to any form of intimidation, threat or further marginalisation!