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Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trivial 5. Maimuna

Trivial 5.
By Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde
 
Maimuna
 

This is not trivial at all.

Maimuna is the 16 year old girl whose plight was reported by Weekly Trust last Saturday, 11 December 2010. She was abducted on the street by Yusuf, a policeman on a night patrol team in Kano, and kept in his house as a sex slave for 28 days before she could escape. Maimuna alleged that while in his custody,  Yusuf sold her out for sex to his friends among the Police and others who could pay a handsome amount. In a plea for her compliance, a drug dealer, Sanusi Pele, told her how he repeatedly paid Yusuf before he could get her. With Yusuf, however, the rape was on a daily basis. The full story of the poor can be read at http://www.weekly.dailytrust.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=4835:how-policemen-turned-girl-16-into-sex-slave-they-forced-me-to-sleep-with-others-including-drug-dealer&catid=40:cover-stories&Itemid=26
 
Maimuna’s family complained to the Police but it took the intervention of Kano Hisbah Board before the Police started investigating the matter. Yusuf admitted keeping the girl but, naturally, denied raping her. He and the others, I reliably learnt yesterday, have already been released from police custody. There have been veritable reports of pressure mounted on the family to withdraw the case. The Divisional Police Officer under whom Yusuf is serving and to whom the complaint was first lodged “begged the relatives to forgive his men and let the matter die”, reported Weekly Trust. Nor was the word of his boss, the state Police Commissioner more reassuring: “If the allegation is found false, the Hisbah Board will be required to buttress their information so that the general public will know the true situation of the matter.”
 
From this, one can safely conclude the outcome of the investigation. The police command in Kano is famous for unending investigations. High profile murder cases have vanished in its case files after the initial promises to ‘bring the culprits to book.”
 
Therefore, I am not ready to squander my hope that Maimuna’s case would be  any different. Otherwise, why the effort to buy the silence of her relatives who are so poor to even afford the almost daily taxi fare to the police station? Perhaps, it is in recognition of the enormous forces against her that little declared, “If I don’t get justice here on earth, I am sure I’ll get it in the hereafter.”
 
My argument in this short discussion is that we cannot afford to wait for the hereafter. Maimuna is our daughter, just like the daughter of any of us. This is the first reported case of its kind. There have been cases of rape in police custody, just as there have been many cases of sex slavery. What makes Maimuna’s different is the combination of the two: the use of state instrument of law to rape and sex-slave a teenager in a traditional society like Kano. Yusuf abducted her as she was riding a bike to return home when he was on official duty to protect the civilian population of Kano. He and one Inspector Dantalle have been using the patrol vehicle to transport her from one customer to another. He threatened her with his status, his uniform, his gun, his friends, and with the authority of state. That is the difference.
 
Being the first also necessitates the need to show sufficient public outcry against the breach of public trust. More girls might have suffered the same fate silently in the past. But more will definitely suffer in future if we remain silent and allow Maimuna's case to fizzle away while Yusuf and his likes continue to serve as policemen. This is where I find us guilty. Since the story hit the stands, there has been no public protest over the issue except the press release made by the management of Dandali/Ra’ayi/Yan'arewa yahoo discussion groups. That Hisbah and the office of the Attorney-General are handling it is not enough; that is simply official.There is the need for the outcry to come from other quarters. The silence is sickening.
 
First, where are our women’s right advocacy groups who deafened our ears when Senator Sani Yariman Bakura allegedly married a 13 year old Egyptian girl? Where is their advocacy against child trafficking? Where are those advocating against child abuse?
 
In fact, where are the people of Kano who have in the past distinguished themselves with the culture of protest over all sorts of issues – political, economic, ethnic and religious? Why have they not protested so far to the Police headquarters and added their voice on the need to bring Yusuf and other culprits to book? Where is the Kano that could spend its fortune on regulating Hausa films not forthcoming in lending its voice collectively in support of it's 16 year old daughter? Where are its Ulama? Has any of them delivered a Friday sermon condemning this action? Where is the Shariah committee? Has its members demanded that Yusuf be handed over to any Shariah court for trial? Where are its academicians and writers? Are their pens dry? What has become of the ancient city and its great people?
 
Indeed, where is Governor Shekarau, the Sardauna of Kano? Would have the original Sardauna failed to rest his weight behind Maimuna until justice is done? Where is Ado, it's Emir, who inherited the throne of his father Sanusi who never wasted any time since his youth to protect the interest of his subjects and attend to their needs, as Sir Sharwood Smith once said?
 
Where is the larger umma that could protest the cartoons of the Prophet or the Miss World pageant, matters far smaller in Islam than the rape of a girl? One cannot imagine what would have happened were the culprits not Muslims.  Chineke! Fortunately, for the peace of Kano and the nation, the evil was homegrown. All of them are Muslims – Yusuf, Dantalle, Salisu, Shehu, Misbahu, Sanusi, name them – though, we must hasten to add that the religious identity of the girl is immaterial to a conscientious public that is threatened by wolves in uniform. When things are left to government in Nigeria, their end is more predictable than the coming of tomorrow.
 
All cultures place high premium on the dignity of their women. Islam in particular takes serious offense when women are molested. One of the major conflicts between the Muslims in Medina and their Jewish neighbours during the lifetime of the Prophet was over the molestation some the Jews meted on a Muslim woman in the market. Also, when a Muslim woman was once held captive by an emperor of a foreign land, the Caliph sent him a letter, threatening  him with war: “Release her immediately; otherwise, I will fight you with a force that would begin at your end and end at mine.” The emperor obliged immediately. Those were men with guts. Their dignity comes first before their material interest. For us, we are bourgeois, as Fukuyama has described us. We are the "last man" who has compromised his self-pride for the ingredients of survival.
 
Not all of us, though. I recount the display of courage by one medical student at Ahmadu Bello University four years ago. A visiting professor, Singh, was teaching the class how to revamp the respiration of a person that has seizure as a result of accident or other causes. It required a demonstration which is usually done on a male student. Unknown to the cultural sensitivity of the class, the professor asked a girl to come forward for the demonstration, which required her to strip her chest. She started crying. He insisted. Kabiru, one of her classmates, rose and objected, saying, “She won’t.” And that was the end. Singh complained to the Dean about Kabiru’s ‘rudeness’ but the matter was laid to rest by explaining to the professor the inappropriateness of his demand in the cultural context of the class. Kabiru is now in his clinicals. Than him, I think, Bauchi has not produced a better boy. He is my hero. Had he thought of the consequences of expulsion or so, he would have kept quiet and allowed the girl to suffer the humiliation. But he was instantly transfigured by the self-pride he shares with the girl to do the right thing, which saved the girl.
 
In a world of very few Kabirus, we can still accord Maimuna and her family some succour. The girl, as the press release by the discussion groups suggested, needs professional counselling to help her manage the traumatic experience. The regime of counselling should be lasting. She also needs to be clinically tested and treated immediately for any STD including HIV, now and later, especially given the type of characters that have raped her repeatedly. She and her family need money to help them stick to their guns and ward off any attempt to buy their silence. It will also help finance a private litigation if the need arises. Finally, though the voice of men will bring a lot of assurance to the family, that of our female advocates will particularly boost the confidence of the girl.
 
Should we fail in this, our silence makes us accomplices in the eyes of humanity.
 
What should be done to Yusuf and his gang? I quite agree with the calls of the discussion groups, that pending completion of investigations, the suspects need to be suspended from the Force and retained in custody without bail because they will interfere with the investigations. There is admission of culpability from Yusuf when he conceded that he harboured the girl. That is enough a circumstantial evidence. When the investigation is completed and the evidence of their culpability ascertained, they should be charged to court for rape, slavery and breach of public trust. Their sentence must be aggravated, to run successively, not concurrently, given the heinous nature of their crime. That is enough to keep them in jail forever. Other criminals among the police will not miss the signal of deterrence.

Also as suggested by the groups, the Inspector General of Police needs to take over the investigation and display the resolve that is required to allow Maimuna attain justice. If the present Kano State Commissioner of Police is the same Yabo that was in Kaduna some months ago, I will cry with a loud voice for the transfer of the case for Force Headquarters.
 
Finally, there is a brewing idea of establishing a fund for the family by the discussion groups. When arrangements are completed, in addition to my personal contribution, I have pledged to appeal to my readers across the world to also donate. Though the stomach in us is gone, at least this much we can do for the poor Maimuna. Before then, please let me have your comments below.
 
 
Bauchi,
15 December, 2010

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

This development has exposed the hypocrisy of our so called Liberators of Women. Lets wait and see what WRAPPA and defenders of Women sentenced by sharia would do. If Sani Yerima had slept with a 13 years old Girl in Abuja, no body will say anything. The Prostitution that takes place in ABUJA is unbelievable especially if you travel and sleep in hotels.

Ibrahim said...

What a shame and what a shameful act. Where, when and how did we lose all our sensibilities? This matter must not be allowed to die.

Hassan A Karofi said...

I feel disgusted, guity and frustrated because in our part of the country it is when you are directly affected that you realise the significance of protest, or when some faceless and useless politicians manipulate our religious sensibilities to chaos that we raise our voices, Maimuna may be poor but she has in us compulsory supporters if we are to act in accordance with the prophetic saying that " You are not a believer until you like to your brothers/sisters what you like to yourself.

Anonymous said...

I now believe that the Women rights groups are hypocrites. They are ALL after collecting money from their foreign partners just to ridicule Islam. Have it being marriage by Maimuna to an elder politician they could be shouting by now.

Muaz said...

The Nigeria Police Force has long been labeled a force of shame. Hardly anything good comes from its men from head to toe. It needs a total overhaul.

Ilu Kademi said...

This is another sad reality of our society today. The way to look at this issue is to simply figure Maimuna as your own daughter, then again one can easily feel the deep pain. I concur with notion that if no justice is done to this matter, we can all bear the consequence of our inaction and no one knows the end madness. This animal called Yusif needs to feel pain and digrace of his action. I would like to know how can we help in alleviating the pain of this family from outside of Nigeria.

Anonymous said...

The hypocrisy inherent in our so-called government, human rights groups and in fact all and sundry in the society is terribly horrifying. The case of Maimuna is just a reprentative of others. The government is only interested in self serving policies likewise the elites care for only what personally affect them, whereas the downtrodden are left to their own fate.
May God bless Dr. Tilde and all members of the Yahoo discussion group for giving this case the publicity it deserves. It is also duty bound on all of us to see that Maimuna gets justice and the culprits are properly punished; for committing this heinous offence. Any contribution is not little, let us please raise our voices to the best of our capabilities.

Sani said...

If we fail support this cause in getting justice for Maimuna, we will not be different from Yusuf and his team in this disgusting act. Count on my support, Dr. Tilde.

Ghazali said...

Dr Tilde , you have said it all. My cash is ready anytime .Pls send an account number and i will personally mobilise others to contribute .My Allah grant you peace for all the good things you are doing to this docile society that is loosing all.....eventually.

Anonymous said...

Ya Shab, send us the account details and we will respond appropriately insha Allah and may Allah give us the courage to fight this and other misdemeanors done to the poor now and in the future

sadiq said...

disgutingly unbeleivable. i shed tears for this country and their shameless leaders. nemesis wil surely catch up wt all of them. the acct number we need immediately tilde

Iliyas said...

We need not wait for Women Groups or Associations to handle this. This forun care hire a lawyer to follow up this case and ensure justice is done. I am ready with my financial contribution. Please send the account detail direct to my email address.

Yakubu Muhammad Awwal I. said...

Nationally police attracted odium for their civil violence. The act of the Police, Yusuf and his co-hort, is vehemently disgusting, it leaves a scar in the mind of all morally upright being, and violates the spiritual essence of humanity. Why does the Police find resort in destroying what they ordinarily suppose to protect? Maimuna may not be mine today but if Yusuf and other perpetrators of this crime go free, everybody, the community and the society will be faced with the same 'Maimunaic' violation from the Police. Arise O Nigerians Protect the Maimuna of today, so that yours be protected in the future.

Yakubu Muhammad Awwal I. said...

Nationally police attracted odium for their civil violence. The act of the Police, Yusuf and his co-hort, is vehemently disgusting, it leaves a scar in the mind of all morally upright being, and violates the spiritual essence of humanity. Why does the Police find resort in destroying what they ordinarily suppose to protect? Maimuna may not be mine today but if Yusuf and other perpetrators of this crime go free, everybody, the community and the society will be faced with the same 'Maimunaic' violation from the Police. Arise O Nigerians Protect the Maimuna of today, so that yours be protected in the future.

Dr. Ray said...

What kind of people have we really become that nothing can shock us into action? This can shock even the most decadent nation yet we who claim to be pious seem not to care!

Anonymous said...

Dr., you have crowned it all!!! Indeed, it is the collective responsibility of all of us(ulama, govt., traditional rulers, business men, academia, activists, journalists, common man etc,) to express our displeasure over the incident. We should explore all the possible means to ensure justice is done and the culprits are brought to the book!!! We must strive hard to assist the victim and the family as much as we can. We will all be questioned on this on the day of judgment!!!

habiba lawal said...

Its really sad and I agree that we must all lend our voices,however I cant help thinking that our society (i.e hausa)is hypocritical,because if this poor girl had being put in the family way by being a willing partner,by now our 'mallams'would have shouted themselves hoarse,calling for her head.However,those responsible must be brought to book,otherwise this will surely confirm that Nigeria is indeed a lawless society and that the Nigeria Police are in the forefront of this lawlessness.

A.Y.Safana said...

This piece shows how deep our society has gone to the abyss. We all have moral responsibility to stand up for Maimuna whatever it takes!

Khalid Imam said...

Dr Tilde, I think what poor Maimuna direly needs in her present traumatic condition is justice, not money. Unless the money you are proposing to be contributed for her is going to be used to seek justice for her, I strongly believe, your proposal is not the right pill. We should stop blaming the hypocritical human right groups funded by the West and act fast. Action is what Maimuna needs now, not "dogon turanci." Let us all ensure the rapists did not escape justice!

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

I think I have explained in the article why some money would be useful to her cause. The reasons are many. If you have ever been involved in a case like this, you would understand how it is impossible tomget justice in Nigeria without money.

Nabila said...

This a very sad story. In any civilised country, the perpetrators of this dastardly act would be behind bars. If it were a rich man's daughter also, it would be a different story and the police officers would be behind bars and suspended from the force. Unfortunately this is Nigeria and Maimuna is from a poor family.

Please provide us with details on how we can send money across so it can be used to help in Maimuna's case.

Emeka said...

This is the hall mark of evil, Dr. Tilde, i trust that you will keep us posted on this. I will appreciate if you can handle a charity/fund raising yourself for our little girl Maimuna. We (My friends) will like to contribute towards her rehabilitation.

We must all stand up against evil. Evil has no religion or geographical location, Today it is poor Maimuna, tomorrow it could be anybody.

Yusuf is just a small fraction of the level of decadence in our country. But the most painful aspect of this, is that he is Police officer. Who knows what he might have been doing before now.

Usman said...

Thank you Dr Tilde. Very unfortunate that those who claimed to be champions of the masses have failed themselves now. We can see their selfishness now. God will surely defend her.

Maryam said...

The issues are very clear, and contrary to what many have said here, womens groups and those that stand against abuses of this nature, have been working round the clock to get to the bottom of this tragedy.
And by the way, the allusion to Yerima was most unnecessary and unfortunate, especially in the context it appears. Yerima's case was not necessarily about Yerima. It is about the thousands of young northern girls who get married off before they understand the responsibilities of marriage and motherhood. It is about impunity and the selective use of Islamic principles and laws, depending on what side of the divide you are. It is about the poverty and hopelessness that prevails amongst many of our families and women, in our communities, precisely because our leaders choose to look the other way when atrocities are committed in the name of Islam. It is about joining issues with those who use Islam for their selfish ends, while maintaining different standards when it comes to their own lives.
Tilde, some of us are still waiting for your position on Yerima, especially because the issues there are not as clear cut as in this instance. Or do you write only on matters that will not attract condemnation or controversy?

Iman said...

Thank you, Maryam. Senator Yerima remembered that he was emulating our beloved Prophet when he marrieeeeeed the 13 year old girl, but forgot that our Prophet never divorced his wives and lived patiently and in kindness with them. How does Yerima case relate to the abduction of Maimuna? And why are people in a haste to presume that Maimuna's case is not being taken up? People should not confuse issues, please

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

@ Maryam. Sister Maryam has fired back. It is true I didn't say anything on Yarima's marriage despite a contact from my sister Amina Ibrahim and the knowledge that sister Maryam has once said, "Mun ji abun da Mohwmmed Haruna ya ce, saura na Tilde." I respect Amina Ibrahim so much but yet I declined silently. I have my reasons in the next Trivial: Between Yarima and Maimuna, which I will write possibly tomorrow.

@Emeka. I am not competent to handle the fund raising because I do not live in Kano. Secondly, the three discussion groups that I suggested to handle it have sufficient trustworthy people to handle it. There are members of their managements that are already in contact with some relatives of the girl. Let us give them some time.

We thank Our sister Grace Alheri Abdu for also airing the issue on VOA. She interviewed hajiya Nana Adamy Fika, women leader of PDP, and haijiya Saudatu Sani of WRAPPA.

Anonymous said...

I am particularly disappointed with the women groups and elected officials. It is obvious they are only using gender for selfish gain. They know to make noise about gender imbalance and discrimination when they are looking for recognition and positions but cannot stand up for disadvantaged women when they need them most. Alheri

danjume said...

Salam,
this is particularly painfull but it all goes to show the level of our decadance as a society.we can only act when we are tuned1mostly by foriegh forces with dollars.Remember the case of the woman in Zamfara who was to be killed?whats the diffirence here.where is aishatu Ismail now?where are our lawyers?they can not emulate Gani?to do things for the sake of Allah.Why cant they take up this case with the ECOWAS court?like the lady from Niger Republic who won her case for forcefull slavery.Where are those NGO's who supportede the lady fron Zamfara?lets see their commitment to Human Rights.This case is for ECOWAS COURT if you want it to see the light of the day.The best you can do is to advise that group to get good humanatrai lawyers to put up a case on her behalf at the ECOWAS COURT finish

Dr. Aliyu U. Tilde said...

Kiyayeki Alheri

Anonymous said...

Yes!If u did not get justice on earth,.......assuredly YOU'LL BE GRANTED IN THE HEREAFTER.MUNA May ALLAH gurd and protect you to get fair treatment of the attrocities inflicted on your womanhood right.Legal Aid Council,FOMWAN,WRAPA,MSSN,CLOs,NUT (Muna is of school going age),Federal & Kano State Women Affairs Ministeries,Sultan of Sokoto,Kano Emirate Council,etc.it's over to you.ALL shall support concerned organisations that demand justice for this ORPHAN,while not relenting in praying,ALLAH KA TANKWARA SU,(FOOLISHAWA) SU KARKATA GA ADALCI DON BA SA SON YIN SA.DONT CHALLENGE ME FOR MUMMUNAR ADDU'A Dan kore.

Ibrahim M. Attahir said...

I agree with Dr Tilde. She is our daughter. Let us all take the challenge. Forget about women groups. They are elitist and not for the poor Maimuna. I also agree with Emeka that if Dr Tilde will coordinate, I will be ready to contribute for the rehabilitation.

Ibrahim M. Attahir said...

I agree with Dr Tilde. She is our daughter. Let us all take the challenge. Forget about women groups. They are elitist and not for the poor Maimuna. I also agree with Emeka that if Dr Tilde will coordinate, I will be ready to contribute for the rehabilitation.

Nina said...

Dr Tilde,it's gratifying to read the number of supportive comments you've received in response to your extremely distressing report, with many offers of practical help too. A pity some have chosen to use this as an opportunity to blame womens rights groups though- this smacks of the well known tendency of 'blaming the victim'.
Please let us know how we can contribute to the campaign from outside Nigeria (UK). And thank you for making your voice heard on this issue.

bakar said...

Dr.Tilde thank you so much for raising this issue pleas if you can post it also on 234next.com. Please, please and please send us the account. We are really ready to send what we have to help the this orphan. It is really painful. How can any human in his or her senses do such a heinous crime against this little poor girl. Please do not allow this issue to die. Advise the family not to pardon these men.

Ngoyin said...

Very funny from you Tilde, but to be honest, will you give ur daugher at age of 13? Tilde what do you think of their education level? I'm sure at the age of 13 no child in Nigeria is in University! Especially in Northern Nigeria. If I may you ask at what age did you Tilde graduate from University. We're talking of our Distinguish Senator, please think and readress this issue and let put shame this abormination in our Land. For me this is slavery on a girls child! and People like you should know, let not support what is evil in our society. Thank you

Nasiru Yusuf Ibrahim said...

Being a Kano man, i was highly disturb the way the police handle crimes. I was at the press confrence with former commissioner of police last month, he told us that he gave his men one week to bring back some suspects who escaped fom police custody. But up to now nothing happened. I hope I.G Hafeez Ringim ( a Kano resident) will take the matter serious and make sure justice is done.

binta spikin said...

Dr TIlde, it is good and humane that some people have taken up this issue and it had at least yielded result, even they aren't all rounders, still a begining.
But the hypocrisy isn't with the silence or inadequate voices of women groups. I mean by marely giving the issue publicity and attention, Maimuna had been exposed to another danger: that of streotyping. Poeple that know her will associate what have happened to her as if she'd been there by choice. 'Feminine crimes' aren't easily forgotten, neither forgiven. This is more reason why women suffer this and other related abuses in silence, most times they afraid to cry out loud. My hope is with this issue and the calibre of people involved t see to its success, our horizon will be broadened.
And the HIV issue? May Allah save the poor girl and others in similar situations.