Olanrewaju Lawal, Birnin-Kebbi
Hisbah, an Islamic unit of the Department of Shariah Religious Affairs in Kebbi State, has been a catalyst of peace, moral stability and decent living. Silently but effectively, the unit has accomplished so much in the areas of inheritance, child abuse, forced marriage, drug abuse, illicit affair, prostitution, including dislodging petty criminals who had made their duty to disturb the peace and well being of the state.
However, it was the recent recovery of a day old baby, buried alive by her own biological mother in Birnin-Kebbi that multiplied their positive rating in the public sphere. The story of this uncommon feat has remained intriguing till date.
Narrating how the innocent baby was rescued, the director of the department, Alhaji Abubakar Augie, said it was the cry of the baby that drew the attention of passersby to the shallow grave:
“The baby girl was buried alive by her mother who had lodged in a nearby hotel with a friend. Two days after they had buried the baby, they returned to the shallow grave to verify if the baby had died. But to their surprise, when they opened up the grave, the baby let a tiny cry of life, which startled them and caused them to flee.
“But when the baby continued crying, some passersby that heard her tiny voice and traced the cry to the grave where the baby was buried. They immediately removed the baby from the grave, alerted our officers and we came to the scene.
“On further inquiry, residents of the area told us that they had seen the two girls within the vicinity adding that the said girls had lodged at a nearby hotel. So, we went to the hotel and apprehended the two suspects.”
On cases of abandoned babies, he regretted that often, it was usually “as a result of illegitimate conceptions by young mothers. These cases, generally, are as a result of forced marriages by their parents and guardians of young girls. We are calling on them not to consummate marriages against the dictates of the law or forced their daughters on those they don’t like.”
He appealed to parents and religious leaders to do more to help curtail the wave of moral and social decadence. He disclosed that Hisbsh recovered 52 abandoned babies: “These babies were abandoned under different circumstances by their parents. In the past four years, they have handled no fewer than 95 cases of unwanted pregnancies. We have traced 364 missing children.
“We have also arbitrated on 44 cases of forced marriages, while addressing several cases of abduction of girls by young men. We recorded 89 rape cases and confiscated 154 pornographic films. We attended to one case of blasphemy, 180 dangerous drugs cases, seven hajj fare scams, two cases of sodomy as well as prosecuted 260 cases in the courts in the past four years.
“In handling these cases, we abide by due process by reporting to the police, then to local government authorities, before taking the victim to hospitals for medical examination. Where necessary as in the case of abandoned babies, we send the babies to orphanages.”