Thursday, 1st June 2023

Outrage over abduction, forceful conversion of 14-year-old Esther to Islam in Kaduna

By Bertram Nwannekanma
10 May 2023   |   4:04 am
Outrage has trailed the abduction from school and forceful conversion to Islam of a 14-year-old, Esther Duniya, by the village head of Dorayi (Sarkin Dorayi) Ikara Local Council of Kaduna State.


Nigeria must outlaw sexual slavery, forced conversion, says HURIWA
Outrage has trailed the abduction from school and forceful conversion to Islam of a 14-year-old, Esther Duniya, by the village head of Dorayi (Sarkin Dorayi) Ikara  Local Council of Kaduna State.

The Guardian gathered that the teenager abducted on April 5, 2023, is currently living in captivity and in custody of Hakimin Makarfi in Makarfi Local Council of the state.

The Senior Secondary (SS) 1 student of Government Secondary School, who hails from Magamia Dama Kasuwa of Zangon Kataf Local Council of Kaduna State, was born on April 29, 2009.
She relocated to Ikara to live with her aunty, Esther Danjuma, as a result of ill health and insecurity, which affected her village.
The Guardian learnt that her aunty opted to treat her with local herbs since her sick father could not adequately take care of her.
When she started responding to treatment, her aunty thought it wise for her to continue with her education, which was on hold for a while due her health challenge.

Consequently, on March 10, 2023, Esther was enrolled at Government Secondary School Danlawal Ikara, which was very close to where the aunty runs her restaurant business.
According to a source, as Esther continued to attend her classes, on April 5, 2023, she left for school in the morning, but didn’t return home.  
“Esther’s aunty started looking for her that very day but couldn’t find her.  The following day, she was alerted by someone who saw Esther in the house of one Mallam Sani Danmeyamma Danlawal.

On reaching the house, Danlawal’s daughter, Mansura, who is  Esther’s classmate, confessed that the teenager came to her house to help her with washing, but left the house afterwards.
“When the matter was reported to the Village head of Danlawal, he summoned and questioned the said Mansura, who later confessed that Esther was taken to Dorayi to the house of one Aisha Basiru.
“On hearing this, Esther’s aunty left for Dorayi in search of the teenager, and on reaching there, she received the shocking news that one Badeyi Bala, who claimed to be a police officer and one Alhaji Lawal, who is an aide to the village head of Dorayi (Dogarin Sarkin Dorayi), admitted that one Aisha brought Esther to him to convert her to Islam, which he did with the said Badeyi Bala, who claims to be a policeman.

They said that Esther was with them and they will not give her back to the parents since they have now converted her to Islam.
“When the parents insisted on the return of Esther, the two staff members of the village head refused and even threatened their lives.
“In view of the threat they received and the refusal to return Esther to them, Esther’s aunty went and reported the matter to the Kunkumi Police Station and thereafter the matter was transferred to the Makarfi Local Council Divisional Police Station.
“Instead of handing over Esther back to her family, the Makarfi Police Command handed over Esther to the Makarfi District Head (Hakimin Makarfi). Esther’s aunty, together with some Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) officials of Makarfi council went to see the Hakimi on the same matter, but he refused to grant them an audience.
“The same Hakimi handed over Aisha to Daawa, the Islamic group in charge of converting and indoctrinating Muslims converts who are now boasting and threatening to convert even Esther’s aunty.
“The same matter was taken to the Zaria Police Command by the same Muslim group to gain the support of the Police, because the Zaria Police Command ignored justice and decided to scold Esther’s aunty for insisting on the release of her daughter.
“On Monday, May 1, 2023, Esther’s biological father, Mr. Duniya, despite his health challenge, risked his life to go and see the Hakimin Makarfi, instead of listening to him, in conspiracy with the Daawah group threatened to convert him also.
“When they brought Esther to see him, she was crying and wanted to follow him, but Hakimi said that he would not release her to the parents. He said Esther will stay with him for one month until she finally decides to speak of her intention publicly to remain a Muslim,” the source added.

MEANWHILE, Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO) has expressed sadness of Esther’s abuse, abduction and  forceful conversion, as well as  what it called continuous systematic persecution of Christians in the North.
In a letter, the group said: “We as Christians understand and appreciate the need for peaceful co-existence among the Christians and Muslims of Kaduna State and even Nigeria as a whole, which is why we the Hausa Christians Foundation, on behalf of the Duniya’s family decided to write to the Nigerian Government, the Nigerian Police Force and all the relevant laws enforcement agencies to ensure the safe release and return of Esther Duniya back to her family.
“From experience, our Christian girls that are usually abducted and forced into Islam are usually raped, abused sexually, physically and psychologically and even forced into marriage, which we are afraid that such have happened to our sister, Esther.
“Knowing well that Esther is still a minor (just 14 years old) and cannot make decisions for herself, we are calling on your good sense of justice, to intervene into the matter, and to see that, Esther Duniya is re-united back with her family and continue with her education, which is paramount. This can go a long way in promoting the peaceful co-existence between these people of different faith in their community, Kaduna State and Nigeria in general.
“We will continue to reject such evil doings and advocate for justice and respect for human rights and dignity across board.
“We therefore call on all Christians the world over to be praying for the Christians in Northern Nigeria. The persecution is surging and unbearable; from deliberate abduction, forced conversion to Islam and forced marriage of our young Christian girls through the help of the Islamic traditional rulers, to the displacement of several communities and kidnapping of many others for ransom.”

ALSO, civil rights advocacy group, Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA), has asked the Attorney -General  of the Federation, Abubakar Malami (SAN) and the Director General of National Anti-Human Trafficking Agency (NAPTIP), Fatima Waziri- Azi,  to ensure the immediate release from captivity and forced conversion to Islam of Miss Esther Duniya.
Besides, HURIWA promised to sponsor a bill in the 10th session of the National Assembly to specifically criminalise the frequent capture of young Christian virgins in parts of North West of Nigeria and their forced conversion and marriage by local traditional and Islamic leaders, which the group calls modern day sexual enslavement.
HURIWA also reminded the Kaduna State governor and the State’s Attorney General that if their offices fail to free the 14-year-old Esther Duniya from the alleged sexual slavery and forced conversion to Islam, the duo can be dragged to the International Criminal Court in the Haque, Netherlands, for this specific crime against humanity.

Specifically, HURIWA through the National Coordinator, Emmanuel Onwubiko, has alerted the National Assembly of the alleged abduction from school and forceful conversion to Islam of Esther Duniya.