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From Bride to Servant: The tragic journey of Amina and the abuse of power in the Emirate (i)

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From Bride to Servant: The tragic journey of Amina and the abuse of power in the Emirate (i)

This is a true life story

He is a palace worker in the palace of one of the richest traditional title holders in the emirate. In fact, he’s the sarkin gida to the traditional title holder. Let’s call him Audu. The traditional title holder was one of the claimers to the throne of the emirate.

Audu was in his late forties with a wife and children some of whom were adults. Being a sarkin gida to a rich title holder, Audu was living an averagely good life with some economic and trado-political influences.

Audu met a very young, fair-fulani beautiful girl that was just above sixteen years with few months. Let’s call the girl Amina. Amina was from a poor background and she’s been an orphan from a very tender age. Amina came from a family of mostly girls and a few boys that were all struggling to find their bearings in life.

As of then, only one of the three Amina’s brothers was in secondary school. The other was a grown up battling to settle with his new family while the other of the three was of very young age, going to primary school.

When Audu came to ask for the hands of Amina for marriage, her elder brother who was still in secondary school, objected to the proposal knowing fully well that Amina was too young to marry into such a family. However, being a young school going chap, his objections were put aside.

It was a done deal, the marriage date came to pass and Amina moved to her elderly husband’s homes amidst her husband’s other wife and children. The family had their section within the palace of the title holder.

However, crisis started early.

Within just two weeks of marriage, the young Amina realised she was more than a wife. The young Amina, asides wifely duties to her old husband, was also assigned as a house maid to one of the wives of the traditional title holder.

That’s life.

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Another problem that arose was that almost all the kayan lefe that Audu bought for Amina were stolen by his female children. As a young and naive lady, whenever Amina was to go for her maid chores, she used to leave her room unlocked.

One day, she noticed one of her husband’s daughters wearing a sewn cloth that looked like one of the atamfa in her kayan lefe. She quietly went to check the boxes and realised that particular atamfa was missing. She raised the alarm and her old husband openly asked her to stop slandering his children.

Well, either bad or worst, a year passed and Amina was due for childbirth. The day Amina entered labour, Audu rather than take his wife to a hospital, returned her to the family house while she was in labour.

That day, the family of Amina couldn’t sleep. Early in the morning, her elder brother, the one in secondary school, forfeited his school and went to the palace early in the morning to inform Audu of the condition of his young wife. The young chap was not allowed access to the palace, he had to wait outside for hours.

When eventually sarkin gida Audu came out to go about his business of the day, Amina’s brother accosted him and told him the condition of his young wife. Sarkin gida Audu coldly looked at the brother to the face and told him “Kada ku dame ni, idan kuna son ƴar ku, ku kai ta asibiti (don’t disturb me, if you want your daughter, take her to hospital).”

To be continued…..

Story by Hashim Muhammad Suleiman, PhD

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