The Nigerian police has challenged reports that Ifeoma Nicodemus, a 15-year-old school girl based in Zaria, was kidnapped in September 2014.
The denial was prompted by last week’s outcry from parents of Ifeoma Nicodemus- who claimed that she was being held against her will by one Shehu Abdullahi.
But the police say the parents were merely twisting the story.
According to the girl’s father, Nicodemus Odugusi, Ifeoma was abducted 18 months ago and has been in the custody of Abdullahi, who runs an Islamic school in the Samaru district of Zaria.
On his part, Abdullahi said he neither abducted nor married the girl, stressing that he was simply keeping custody of her based on the ruling of a court.
The said girl, Ifeoma, around whom this different narratives is unfolding, says Abdullahi is like a father figure to her and that she wasn’t kidnapped.
According to a Human Rights lawyer, Ezekiel Dyagas, who spoke to Premium Times, Abdullahi had earlier told him that he (Abdullahi) was legally married to the girl after she was converted to Islam.
But Abdullahi denies the accusation, saying that he is already married and, hence, cannot take Ifeoma as a wife.
Nicodemus, father of the abducted girl said that the most difficult part of his daughter’s kidnap is knowing where she is and not being able to do anything. He also noted that Abdullahi had mocked all his attempts to rescue the girl.
“I am a schoolteacher, so you can imagine my pains at watching another man truncates your child’s education. I have been to the Police; I have been to the Court and all the court said fell on deaf ears as far as Alhaji Shehu Abdullahi is concerned.”
However, Abdullahi countered the father’s argument, stating that Ifeoma was the one who had informed a Sharia court of her intention to convert to Islam.
After her conversion, she was said to have refused to return to her parents. Abdullahi was, thereafter, ordered by the court to keep custody of Ifeoma.
He further said that the police was invited to help persuade the girl to return to her parents, but Ifeoma refused- after her father threatened not to allow her practise Islam in his house.
“We even engage people close to her family to persuade her to return to her parents, but stood her ground. So I pleaded with her parent to be patient while we continue to try to reconcile her with them. I was the one who called the attention of her parent, and asked them to come and take her home, but she refused to follow them.”
Speaking on the matter, the Divisional Police Officer in charge of Samaru, where the case was initially filed, stated that: “She converted herself to Islam, and then refused to return home.”
“We intervened here, the commissioner of police intervened, and three times she ran away from her parents. The court then handed her over to Mallam Shehu and co. for custody.”
“One day, we brought her to the station, and asked her parents to take her away. She refused. She said she preferred to be detained in our station rather than go home with her parents. We couldn’t keep her in the station because if she disappears, the commissioner of police will hold us responsible.”
Ifeoma, while saying she was almost 19 not 15 as her parents had previously said, confirmed the police’s assertion that she wasn’t kidnapped.
“I’m married now, not to Mallam Shehu but to someone else. My parents are aware, and my sister recently came to my house. I just don’t wan’t to go home because I can’t live with my parent anymore. My name now is Aisha, and that’s what you should call me.”