Miss Patience Paul, the 15-year-old primary five pupil who was alleged to have been abducted in Sokoto State on the morning of August 12th, 2015 and forced to convert to Islam has now returned to her parents. There was a turn in the tide for Patience when the Governor of Sokoto State Alhaji Aminu Waziri Tambuwal, gave a directive for the investigation of the case and as a result, she got back her freedom and was reunited with her family.
In an interview with Leadership, Patience narrated how she was kidnapped, held hostage in the house of Sarkin Baki (king of strangers’) in Sokoto, and sexually molested for a period of seven months.
According to Miss Patience Paul, “I was sent to buy biscuits and on my way I saw him (her abductor) and he persuaded me to come to his bungalow.” She further revealed that her kidnapper together with some Hisbah (Sharia police) officers took her to an Imam in Runjin Sambo area of Sokoto claiming that she had interest in their religion and wanted to convert to Islam.
The primary five pupil however denied claims that she was forced into marriage but instead disclosed that her kidnapper turned her into a sex slave at the house of the Sarkin Baki. When asked whether she was sexually abused, she answered;
“Yes, he was forcefully making love to me any time he wanted. 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.”
While speaking in a press conference in Kaduna, Barrister Ezekiel Dyagas, a lawyer with Voice for the Girl’s Child Foundation (VGCF), a non-governmental organisation (NGO), based in Jos, Plateau State, who was instrumental to the release of the teenager, Miss Patience Paul, explained that he was briefed about her case on March 1, 2016, by her brother. As Barrister Dyagas said:
“Her brother, who is here with me, has been up and doing since the family realized 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. 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.”
The lawyer equally made it known that he would be taking Patience to Benue State on Tuesday following the request of the government of her state who had also indicated interest in her case. He said:
“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.”
Meanwhile, Miss Patience Paul’s elder brother, Isaac Paul, who is a fresh graduated from the University of Sokoto, could not hold back his appreciation to journalists, Sokoto state government, and all Nigerians who made the recovery of his sister possible. The 28-year-old divulged that their mother was late and their father worked as a steward in Sokoto, adding that Patience, the sixth child of the family of nine, had been promised to be enrolled in school by the Benue State Government.