A Pro-democracy Non-governmental organisation – HUMAN RIGHTS WRITERS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (HURIWA ) has condemned the continuous conspiratorial silence of both President Muhammadu Buhari and his Women Affairs minister Aisha Alhassan over the raging child bride saga in Katsina State involving the Emir of Katsina- Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman.
In a statement signed jointly by the National Coordinator Comrade Emmanuel Onwubiko and the National Media Affairs Director Miss Zainab Yusuf, HURIWA said it was disgraceful that the country’s top Cabinet level appointee responsible for Women Affairs could afford to maintain undignified silence in the face of the uproarious controversy linked to the alleged abduction, forced conversion and illegal marriage of a minor without Parental consent only because the accused culprit is a first class traditional ruler in the home state of the current President of Nigeria.
Besides, HURIWA said it was morally and legally repugnant that the Nigerian Presidency; the office of the Inspector General of Police and that of the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice are not concerned about the ordeals of a 14-year old Child bride who was forcefully conscripted into another religion other than her Parents and worst still converted to a Child bride amidst her Parents protestations.
HURIWA reminded President Muhammadu Buhari of his Constitutional Oath of office which obliges him not to capitulate to his religious or ethnic sentiments in the discharge of his official duties and responsibilities to the Nigerian State.
” The widespread stories of the purported marriage in Katsina State involving a minor, Habiba Isiyaku, a 14-year-old girl who was allegedly abducted, converted to Islam and forced into marriage allegedly by the Emir of Katsina have gone on for so long.”
“We are shocked that both President Muhammadu Buhari and the Minister of Women Affairs, Hajiya Aisha Alhassan, who should have spearheaded the advocacy for the defence of the rights and dignity of such innocent minors, have all maintained dangerously disturbing silence”.
HURIWA has therefore tasked the Nigerian President and all relevant government institutions and officials such as the Federal Attorney General and Minister of Justice Alhaji Abubakar Malami; the Inspector General of Police Alhaji Kpotum Idris; the Minister of Women Affairs Hajiya Aisha Alhassan; the First Lady and Wife of President Muhammadu Buhari Mrs Aisha Buhari to take collective action immediately to bring a quick resolution to this lingering massive child rights abuses going on against the 14 year old Habiba in the hands of the Katsina Emirate Council to avoid precipitating religious crises in Nigeria.
The Rights group is of the considered position that all those involved in this child bride saga in Katsina State must be arrested and prosecuted irrespective of their status since nobody is above the law and they must be dealt with under the Child Rights Act of 2003 which prohibits this sort of forced child marriage which violates constitutional provisions of Parental consent.