(Voice of the Persecuted) NIGERIA: Boko Haram are not the only culprits abducting young girls. While visiting her relatives at their family compound in Siri village, thirteen -year-old Alheri Bawa went with one of her cousins to stay the weekend with another cousin in Bauchi city.
When she didn’t return, her father, Bawa Buba is an ordained Elder of Seventh-day Adventist Church contacted his family but was told she was visiting with his nephew, Mal Dauda Bawa in Bauchi city. He called Dauda Buba to see if his daughter was still with him. He was told that Alheri was converted to Islam and he would not be seeing her anytime soon. The father was shocked and thought it was a joke. He asked his nephew why he didn’t discuss it with him and that his daughter never mentioned the intent to convert. The nephew told him that he should understand and allow his daughter to remain with him. Bawa Buba along with his pastor and another Elder from the church traveled and met his nephew at the gate of his home. He was told that the issue was no longer family, but religious. That he should put family aside and accept the fact, or go to the Sharia Commission as only they had the power to release his daughter.
While they were talking, his daughter came out excited to seeing her father and wanted to go home with him. He held her hands and asked her to enter the pastor’s car. As she was going, Mal Dauda Buba rushed and held onto her hijab and told her that she is irresponsible and would not leave with father unless the sharia commission was there, since they were aware of her decision. Bawa Buba said his daughter shouted “Na FASA, Na FASA”which translates to “I’m no longer interested.” Both her father and cousin held onto the girl. Bawa said the place was instantly filled with hoodlums who wanted to turn the issue into a religious crisis. They threatened to burn the pastor’s car. Mal Dauda was shouting, “this religious issue, not family. He brought his church people.”
Some Muslim leaders in the area came and expressed their disapproval towards Mal Dauda’s action as unIslamic, but he insisted that he would not let her go. Bawa Buba said they told his pastor to take him out of the place. “I was no longer in my right mind because of the pains and trauma I have been through and my daughter’s willingness to follow me. I was ready to die with my daughter in my hand,” he said.
The crowd was increasing in number and tensions were high. Her father explained, “The Muslim elders begged my pastor to take me away and that I should not worry. They said police would return Alheri, because my nephew’s actions and the and the others gathering were not Islam.” His pastor dragged Bawa Buba by force and drove away from the scene.
Buba relayed, “We went to GRA Division Police station and laid our complaints. The police were quick in action at the beginning. They attached a policeman to us who later arrested Mal Dauda and brought him to the station.
His nephew was asked to explain his side. Mal Dauda then made a call to the Sharia Commission and they requested to speak with the police. After they spoke, his nephew was called to the counter by Inspector in charge. Bawa said his nephew spoke boldly. Afterward, the police disregarded the case, treating it as a civil dispute. Bawa Buba was told to go to court and request for the custody of his daughter.
The father shared in a letter, “My 13-year old daughter is abducted, Islamized and forced to stay with a criminal and the police called it a civil case. We were [told] by the DCO to hire a lawyer and go to court over my daughter.”
“Were is the money to file a case? Which court should I go to? Sharia Court? I’m in trauma and pain. All I want is the custody of my daughter, Alheri Grace Bawa. Pls sir, use your office to return my daughter back to me. I’m home in the village back to my wife and remaining 5 children as we weep and wait for justice for me and my family.”
He had no choice but to go to the media for help. He shared an open letter on news forums and in comment sections of news articles on various news agency websites. It gained much attention and aided in his daughter’s rescue. The letter can be still be found on many sites.
After much pressure from the media and international community, the Inspector-General of Police, and the Bauchi State Commissioner of Police intervened and secured his daughter’s release. She is now reunited with her family. Her abductor, Mal Dauda Bawa is allegedly in police custody and would reportedly be charged to court soon.
Elder Bawa Buba with his wife and Pastor Rikwense Muri were at the State Command of the Nigeria Police Force to receive her.
Voice of the Persecuted is on the ground in Nigeria to care for our Christian brothers and sisters experiencing brutal persecution.
We are committed to being a VOICE for persecuted Nigerian Christians and bring them comfort, relief, and encouragement. We have committed to a long-term mission in Nigeria. When they are able to return home, we will be there to encourage and help rebuild villages and their lives. They will not be forgotten!
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