Police in the northwest Nigerian state of Kano have arrested an Islamic scholar for abducting an 11-year-old girl.
Yashir Abubakar, who was arrested in neighbouring Kebbi State, reportedly told the police he ran away with the girl because he fell in love with her the very first time he set his eyes on her.
Spokesperson for the police in Kano State, Abdullahi Haruna Kiyawa, confirmed the arrest.
He said the girl’s father told the police that the 38-year-old suspect came to his house to ask him to allow his daughter to accompany him to somewhere. He obliged him, believing she was in safe hands with a Quranic teacher.
But when his daughter didn’t come back and Abubakar couldn’t be reached, the father reported the matter to the police, prompting the acting commissioner of police, Abubakar Zubairu, to detail policemen to track the teacher.
Police added that investigation revealed that Quranic teacher Abubakar obtained over a million naira from people under false pretences and had taken the 11-year-old girl with him when he was leaving for Kebbi State to escape arrest by those he swindled.
He was eventually found at Yauri in Kebbi, arrested and brought back to Kano.
When Abubakar first came to Kano, he was with a girl called Wurera whom he claimed to be his wife, police said, adding that investigation showed that although he and Wurera lived together, they were not married.
This prompted the acting CP to direct that the case be transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department for further investigation.
In an interview, the Quranic teacher expressed regret at what he did, saying he didn’t think of the consequences first.
He said as a Mallam, he moved from Zamfara State, his state of origin, to Warri in Delta State, where he took and lived with Wurera, 21, for about eight months.
“My father was the one who taught me to be a mallam. I also learnt the teachings from a mallam in Gusau for two years,” the teacher said.
“I came from Warri to Tundun Wada in Kano where my uncle lives. I rented a place and was staying with Wurera whom I made my uncle and others to see as my wife. I was helping goat traders to sell the animals so as to get some payment as a middle man. I was also engaged in Quranic teaching.”
He said he admired the 11-year-old girl immediately he saw her for the very first time.
“I just fell in love with her with an intention to marry her, but I took her to Yauri in Kebbi State without the consent of her parents. However, I have not had any sexual relationship with her. I only enrolled her in a school.”
The teacher also admitted using false pretences to swindle people but didn’t specifically explain how he did it.
He added that it was anger he felt towards his father that made him commit crimes.
He said: “I’m from a polygamous family. My father has four wives, but my mother is his first wife. I was having problems with him because of the other wives who always look down on me and ridicule my mother.
“Whenever that happened, I would defend my mother but whenever the wives reported me to my father on the issues, he was not always happy with me, with him supporting the younger wives. At a point, he told me to leave his house, saying that I should go and establish Quranic school somewhere since I had already been taught. That was why I left Zamfara.
“I regret all that I did. Staying with a woman without being married to her is a sin in our Islamic teaching.”
He advised other Islamic clerics having issues with their parents to go and resolve them.
The girl with whom he came to Kano, Wurera, admitted that she was not married to the Islamic teacher.
She said: “I met Mallam when one of my friends told me that he was interested in me. My friend gave me his number and we started communicating.
“One day, I deceived my father that I was going to my maternal aunt’s place in Kano. My father knew I was lying but I convinced him. He was even the one who took me to the train station and paid my fare to Kano from Kebbi State.
“On getting to Kano, I linked up with the Mallam and we started living together as husband and wife.
“I didn’t know what transpired between him and the 11-year-old girl. All I knew was that he told me we were returning to Yauri in Kebbi. He picked the girl when we were going. But I didn’t see him do anything with her.
“My parents were not privy to his moves with me, and I knew that I have put myself in a big mess. He did not marry me properly and my parents didn’t know him.”