Fifteen-year-old Patience Paul, the schoolgirl allegedly abducted in Sokoto and forcefully converted to Islam, has recounted how she was abducted, held in captivity and sexually abused for seven months in Sarkin Baki (king of strangers’) residence in Sokoto State.
Patience, who hails from Benue State, went missing on August 12, 2015. But reprieve came the way of the kidnapped girl and her family after the Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, ordered an investigation into the matter, which resulted in her release and subsequent reunion with her family.
Thenigerialawyer gathered from Patience that her abductor and some Hisbah (Sharia police) personnel had taken her to an imam in Runjin Sambo area of Sokoto with a claim that she wanted to convert to Islam.
Patience said, “I was sent to buy biscuits and on my way I saw him (her abductor) and he persuaded me to come to his bungalow.”
The primary six pupil disclosed that she was not forced into marriage but that her abductor turned her into a sex slave at the house of the Sarkin Baki.
“Yes, he was forcefully making love to me any time he wanted,” she answered to a question on whether she was sexually abused. “They first took me to Sarkin Baki house, and kept me there for seven months before my parents came looking for me.
“They gave me something to drink, but I refused to take the drink, and they took me to one room and locked me inside the room.
“They forcefully made me to turn to Muslim and gave me another name, Aisha. Some people wanted to marry me, but the Sarkin Baki refused and said until I finish Islamic school before they marry me off.
Addressing a press conference in Kaduna, a lawyer with a Jos, Plateau State-based non-governmental organisation (NGO), Voice for the Girl’s Child Foundation (VGCF), Barrister Ezekiel Dyagas, who helped in securing Patience’s release, said he was briefed about her case on March 1, 2016, by her brother.
Barrister Dyagas said: “Her brother, who is here with me, has been up and doing since the family realised that the little girl was missing and eventually abducted by one of her neighbours.”
“I promised the family to give me 48 hours and we would be able to trace her whereabouts. I posted her story on the website and you will not believe the response I got.
“Within that 48 hours I was talking to the Sokoto State governor, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, and I told the girl’s brother that the governor will call him,” he said.
The lawyer praised Tambuwal for ensuring the girl was released to her family.
“In fact, the governor not only called, but he played a vital role towards the freeing of Patience. He acted as a father and we appreciate his role. In short, he was instrumental to her eventual release.
“As I am talking to you, those behind her abduction in Sokoto had been arrested and are going to face prosecution soon,” he said.
He also declared that he is taking the young girl to Benue State on Tuesday on the request of the state government who had also shown interest in her case.
“Since, the commencement of the saga, I have had contact with the state commissioner for women affairs and youth development, and I will not tell you what the state government had promised to do for Patience. If you want to verify, you can call the commissioner.
Patience’s elder brother, Isaac Paul, 28, who had just graduated from the University of Sokoto and is awaiting NYSC call-up, thanked Nigerians for assisting the family to recover their daughter.
He said their mother was late while their father worked as a steward in Sokoto, adding that Patience is the sixth child in the family of nine.
Paul also thanked journalists and the Sokoto State government for wiping their tears, just as he noted that the Benue State government had promised to enrol Patience in school.