Nigerian man charged over abduction of 13-year-old girl

Map of Nigeria

A man has been charged in Nigeria with kidnapping and sexually exploiting a 13-year-old girl he allegedly married in the northern city of Kano.

Yunusa Dahiru pleaded not guilty to the charges in front of a judge in southern Bayelsa state's capital, Yenagoa.

Police found the girl last week after a social media campaign to free her.

The family of the girl, named only as Ese, alleged that Mr Dahiru abducted her last August and forced her to convert to Islam before marrying her.

Mr Dahiru, who local media says he is about 18 years old, has maintained that she entered into a relationship with him and converted from Christianity voluntarily.

Ese's family say they made several efforts to bring her back home to Bayelsa from Kano city, which is 900km (600 miles) to the north, but were told she was no longer their daughter.

Two other people were charged in absentia for conspiring to abduct the girl.

The trial will resume on 14 March for Mr Dahiru's bail application.

Last week, police said officers who delayed investigating Ese's release would also be prosecuted.

But it is not yet clear when and where they will be charged.

More on child marriage

Image caption This Nigerien girl was married when she was 13

Percentage of women married as children
Married by 15 Married by 18
Niger 36% 75%
Chad 29% 68%
Central African Republic 29% 68%
Bangladesh 32% 66%
Guinea 20% 63%
Mozambique 21% 56%
Mali 15% 55%
Burkina Faso 10% 52%
South Sudan 9% 52%
Malawi 12% 50%
Source: Unicef, the State of the World's Children, 2013

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