Dying for love: 17-yr-old girl set self ablaze over delay in getting married

MUHAMMAD SABIU reports the story of the 17-year-old Zamfara girl who got frustrated over her boyfriend’s inability to pay her dowry, and subsequently set herself ablaze.

IT is the dream of every young lady to get married to the man of her dreams, but sometimes the dream gets aborted as the girl could be jilted, or the potential groom may die or sometimes she may even call off the relationship by herself for different reasons.

In the case of Aisha, a 17-year-old girl in Albarkawa community of Gusau Local Government Area of Zamfara State, she had no problem with her boyfriend and both were hoping to get married soonest but there was one snag. Her boyfriend, Umar Faruku was not financially prepared to go ahead and pay her dowry.

As the days rolled into months and yet her boyfriend was not forthcoming, she decided to end her own life in frustration as there was already an air of uncertainty over her wedding day or even whether they were going to get married at all.

When news filtered into Albarkawa community about Aisha’s suicide attempt, everyone was in a state of shock.  According to residents within the community who were privy to the relationship between Aisha and her boyfriend, she must have become frustrated over the continuous delay in fixing her wedding date and she felt that the only way out of the dilemma and impending shame was to commit suicide.

Unfortunately, the suicide attempt was aborted and she was left with severe burn on the upper part of her body. When asked what prompted her to take the path of suicide, Aisha told Arewa Live that she didn’t want to remain single and be forced to engage in fornication.

“I don’t want to have pre-marital sex or to fornicate with another man. I have preserved my body for him,” she explained.

According to her, the fact that her lover had no money to pay her bride price had been a source of worry to her which got her continuously frustrated. Aisha maintained that herchastity as a woman is intact.

How then did she plot the suicide plan? Speaking further with Arewa Live she explained that it was a self-devised plot executed only by her.  She, however, added that she hinted her younger sister about the plan just minutes before she carried out the suicide attempt.

Findings by Arewa Live revealed that Aisha who is not in a conventional school has memorised the Holy Koran since she was 12 years old. Her childhood friend who pleaded for anonymity remarked that they were all really surprised over the incident.

We are really very sad with her attitude especially because she›s someone who is very religious.”

Arewa Live gathered that on that fateful day, she bought a gallon of petrol and poured it on herself and lit a match her whole body ablaze.

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Badamasi Aminu one of Aisha’s neighbours recalled what happened in an interview with Arewa Live.

“I was sitting in front of my house around 7 a.m with a friend on that fateful Sunday when I noticed heavy smoke coming from Aisha’s residence. A friend of mine who was with me had presumed that it could be fire from a burning motorbike inside the house.

“A few minutes after, the girl ran out of the house covered in flames and she kept screaming for help, running from one person to another. As she made an attempt to jump inside the gutter in front of their house, I ran inside the house and came out with a bucket of water which I poured on her to put out the raging flames.

“Initially, I thought it was an accident involving cooking gas, but when I asked her what happened, she said she decided to take her life after she discovered that her boyfriend had no money to pay her dowry,” he recalled.

Another neighbour, who pleaded for anonymity, remarked that “On that day, she told her younger sister what she was planning to do. But her younger sister made spirited attempts to stop her but she couldn’t. She got tired and went away. After making sure that her sister had left then she ignited the fire and within few seconds she was engulfed in flames.”

Also speaking Aisha’s father, Alhaji Aminu Muhammad, said he wasn’t around when the incident happened, but only came back home to meet his daughter in a critical condition.

“I had only N750 on me when the incident happened, that was why we couldn’t take her to the hospital on that day. We resorted to traditional medicine but later managed to take her to hospital.

“She has been dating the boy in question for more than a year now. She brought up the issue of marriage and we asked him to present his parents for the marital contract to be sealed, but he told us he had no money.

“Later, we learnt that he was jobless and merely depending on commercial motorcycling. Even the motorbike he uses is not his own. He hires the bike and only makes little at the end of the day,” Aisha’s father said.

Some residents who spoke to Arewa Live over the incident proffered that youthful exuberance might be responsible for Aisha’s action. According one of them, “since the boyfriend had told her the truth about his financial status, she should have put everything behind her and forge ahead. I believe that Allah in His infinite mercy will bring another suitor for her.”

Others believe that if Aisha had earlier sought the intervention of her parents and elderly persons, they would have counseled her wisely.

Arewalive findings gathered that Aisha is currently receiving treatment at the Federal Medical Centre in Gusau. It was also gathered that a former deputy governor in the state, Alhaji Ibrahim Wakkala, had  promised to foot the entire expenses incurred during her stay in the hospital.

In a recent visit to her on hospital bed the former deputy governor also made another donation of N100,000 for her upkeep, promising too to sponsor her wedding with her heartthrob if he is still interested in taking her as a wife or any other person who is interested in her.

Wakkala also appealed to youths generally to seek counsel from elders and their parents instead of keeping quiet or keeping to themselves, noting that had Aisha consulted with elderly people she would not have found herself in the current situation she is in. According to him, suicide is a crime punishable under the law.


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