Patience Paul, the schoolgirl allegedly abducted in Sokoto state and converted to Islam, has been rescued and will be reunited with her parents on Saturday,TheCable reports.
Patience’s parents had reported her missing since August 12, 2015, with unconfirmed reports suggesting she was kidnapped and taken to the palace of the sultan of Sokoto for forceful conversion.
Aminu Tambuwal, the state governor, ordered investigation into the saga after it became a media item during the week. Patience, who was 14 at the time of her abduction, was found on Friday night at the house of one Malam Ibrahim, who calls himself Sarkin Baki (“king of strangers”).
An insider told TheCable:
“The Sokoto State Human Rights Commission, along with the team set up by the police, questioned suspects and detained three persons in connection with the issue.”
Some hisbah (Sharia police) personnel had taken Patience to an imam in Runjin Sambo area of Sokoto with a claim that she wanted to convert to Islam.
The imam asked of her age and was told she was 14. He sought the opinion of the Sultanate Council who directed the imam not to proceed because she was underage and could not make such a “weighty decision” yet.
He was instructed to let her go, but the Imam then informed the hisbah. Rather than let her return to her family house, they took her to the Sarkin Baki who claims he provides residence to indigent persons.
The “king of strangers” then kept her in his house since September.
When investigators met with him Friday night, Patience was seen with his other children and family members. He claimed he adopted the girl because he didn’t want to let her be with the hisbah. He, however, allowed her to be attending both Islamic and government junior secondary school for her education.
A police source told TheCable that when interviewed, Patience claimed she was afraid of returning home because of possible reprisal from her siblings. The alarm Paul Isaac Adaji, father of the teenager, had raised the alarm about her daughter’s disappearance, but it did not gain traction until the case of Oruru started playing out. Adaji, an Idoma from Benue state, said his daughter was forcefully abducted by hisbah in Gidan Kukah, Runjin Sambo area Sokoto, on August 12, 2015.
Tambuwal, in a statement issued by his spokesman, Imam Imam, directed that the matter be investigated. The inspector general of police then took up the matter.