A girl, Habiba Ishaku, 18, on Wednesday dissociated herself from a suit instituted on her behalf by a foundation and the Evangelical
Church Winning All (ECWA) over her conversion to Islam.
The church and the foundation went to court when the girl eloped, embraced Islam and married one Jamilu Lawal in Kankara Local Government Area of Katsina State.
Her father, Mr Ishaku Tanko, had gone to a Katsina High Court in collaboration with Trustees of Stefanos Foundation and ECWA to challenge the action, claiming that Habiba was a minor.
During the court sitting on Wednesday, the judge, Justice Baraka Iliyasu-Wali, drew the attention of the plaintiff and defence counsels to a letter addressed to the court by Habiba, disassociating herself from the suit.
In the letter, Habiba also disputed the claim that she is a minor, putting her age at 18.
In his submission, counsel to the plaintiff, Mr Bawa Yakubu, urged the court to disregard the letter, arguing that since it was written in Hausa language, it should not be admitted as a document before the court.
He insisted that Habiba was still a minor, and therefore not legally entitled to take such decisions on her own.
However, the defence counsel, Mr Abu Umar, averred that the subject matter in the case was Habiba, who had written the letter to the court disassociating herself from the case.
Umar maintained that the girl has the right to write to the court to inform it of her stand.
The counsel further argued that since the letter was written in Hausa language and translated to the court in English language, then, it can stand as concrete document before the court.
“Even if she is a minor as argued by the defence, there is no law that prevents a minor from expressing his or her views according to the Nigerian Constitution.
“Habiba also told the court in her letter that she is 18 years and not 14 years, as being speculated,” he said, and prayed the court to accept the letter.
In her ruling, the judge said that Habiba would be summoned to appear before the court to explain whether she was the author of the letter or not.
She adjourned the case to January 25, for continuation of hearing.
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