Officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons – NAPTIP – have rescued a 12-year-old girl who was allegedly forced into marriage with a much older man.
The minor was married out to a supposed 50-year-old man in the Adaka area of Makurdi, Benue State, the organization said, adding that the rescue followed an alarm raised Tuesday by one Lucky Iduh and a follow-up by a Makurdi based humanist, Ukan Kurugh, which attracted the attention of the NAPTIP officials in Makurdi.
The girl was told by her family that she was being taken to another family where she would live and attend school from, not knowing she had been married off to the head of that family as his third wife.
“But when she discovered that she was brought to the man’s house as his third wife, the girl started raising alarm and seeking for help to escape from the house,” NAPTIP officials said. “That was what attracted the attention of neighbours who started asking for help for the girl.”
Gloria Bai – NAPTIP Commander, Makurdi Zone – said preliminary investigations revealed the girl had been in the forced marriage for about three months and that the man had been abusing her.
Arrangements are in top gear to find and arrest the man as he had fled his home by the time officials arrived there, Bai added.
“Yes we have rescued her.’ Bai said.
“We got this report from a concerned citizen and contrary to the media report that NAPTIP was slow and unenthusiastic, we swiftly went into action to search for the address where the girl was and when we got the address, we planned to go first thing in the morning so that we get both the man and the victim and by 6 AM, we were there.
“Unfortunately, the rain came. We were able to rescue the girl but the man had gone out. We are on it and our officers are already on surveillance to get the man as soon as he is seen.”
Ba assured the public the matter would be thoroughly investigated, adding that “the girl will also be taken to the hospital for medical examination and she will undergo proper counseling. We will see how she came to be in his house and if he has contravened the law, we will charge him to court.”