· Says he sold the girl
· We’ve no hand in it, says Emir's Secretary
A new twist has crept into the tragic tale of the abduction and conversion to Islam of a 14 year-old Igbo school girl, Ifesinachi Ani.
Ifesinachi, a teenage secondary school girl, was abducted in Abuja and taken to Maiduguri, then Zaria, where she was reportedly converted to Islam and married off.
The linkman to the abductors, Baba Abdul, who has been arrested by the police, yesterday claimed that he sold the girl to scouts allegedly sent by the Emir of Zazzau, Alhaji (Dr.) Shehu Idris.
However, the Secretary to the monarch, Alhaji Shehu Garba (Dokajen Zauzzau) dismissed the claim, stressing that “we don’t know anything about that. How can you even believe such a thing?”
He asked our correspondent to come over to Zaria so that “we can see face-to-face and discuss such a matter. It is a serious matter and it is not possible to link the Emir with such a trash”.
However, Police sources informed The AUTHORITY that Baba Abdul told the Police investigators during interrogation that “I sold the girl to them”, but has not been able to disclose how much he collected from the deal up till the time of filing this report.
According to the sources, Baba Abdul maintained that the scouts told him they were from the Emir of Zazzau and that they were looking for young children, especially girls, from the southern parts of the country to convert to Islam and marry.
“I was able to get the girl (Ifesinachi) first, to believe that I was offering assistance to her and her family. This is because her mother does not have any serious means of livelihood apart from the local Igbo beans, ‘okpa’, she is selling. And because we live close by each other and I was able to convince her (Ifesinachi) and she followed every instruction I gave her.
“I also showered her with gifts but warned her not to tell her mother and when I discovered that she was doing what I asked her to do, I took the next move, which made her to hate her mother.
“It was after I had done these preliminary things I was supposed to do, that I sold the girl to them (the scouts). They took her away and finally, I learnt they took her to Zaria and that is where they told me she is at the moment”.
This informed why The AUTHORITY called the Ciroman Zazzau who denied knowledge of the issue and referred us to the Emir’s secretary who vehemently denied Baba Abdul’s claims and link with the Emirate.
The AUTHORITY ON Sunday had reported the sinister activities of a band of syndicate abductors whose primary objective is to lure Christian teenagers and minors from the southern parts of the country and force them to embrace Islam and marry them off. This story led the Police to arrest the Abuja-based, self-styled Islamic cleric, Baba Abdul, who facilitated Ifesinachi’s abduction from the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).
Initially, the abductors made the girl’s mother to believe that the 14-year-old SS-2 student of Government Secondary School, Apo Resettlement, was taken to Maiduguri, but it was later discovered that she was actually taken to Zaria in Kaduna State.
The AUTHORITY on Sunday had exclusively reported that Mrs. Ani, Ifesinachi’s mother, said her daughter informed her via GSM short message (sms) a few days after her abduction that she was whisked out of Abuja to Maiduguri.
Ifesinachi’s mother confirmed that she used the same telephone line to call her daughter’s abductors asking them to allow her see Ifesinachi but they refused, telling her that her daughter was in good health and has been converted to Islam, married off and was now attending an Islamic school where they paid N35,000.
She also told our Editorial Board when Barrister Amarachi of May Child Safety Initiative (MSI), an Abuja-based NGO, brought her to the head office complex of The AUTHORITY Media and Publishing Limited, that she discovered the pictures of her daughter adorned in hijab and posted on the internet as proof that they have actually converted her daughter to Islam. Mrs. Ani confirmed the pictures of the girl in hijab to be those of her daughter.
The AUTHORITY, in the course of the investigations, had also called the same telephone line (08060598215), registered in the name of Ngozi Yellow Osegbere, and a female voice who speaks Igbo, Hausa, Fulani, Kanuri and Beriberi Languages responded.
She wondered why the reporter detailed to speak with her should feign ignorance of the reward of converting people of other tribes to Islam, especially as he claimed that he was a Muslim. Our encounter with the woman was reproduced in The AUTHORITY on Sunday.