A new wave of abducting Christian girls and forcibly getting them “married” off to Northern Nigerian Muslims has struck again, this time, in no less-notable a place as Katsina, the home state of Nigeria’s head of state, President Muhammadu Buhari.
Girls have been kidnapped as far away from the North as Lagos by Muslim young boys/men and parents would later learn that the girls left their homes hundreds of miles away “voluntarily) and had got “married” to Muslims; the girls would also have purportedly converted to Islamic religion “voluntarily.”
With the latest tragedy of the kidnapping/abduction of 14-year-old Habiba Isa, and her supposed “marriage” to the Emir of Katsina, Alhaji Abdulmumin Usman which the Emirate Council is reported to have described as “irreversible”, the time has come for quick action.
It has become imperative not only for President Buhari to take a stand and speak out about this evil that is adding to the wide division between Christians and Muslims but also for Nigerians to protest this barbaric practice of abducting underage girls – Christians and Muslims and giving them in “marriage” against their parents wishes and consent AND against what Nigeria’s Constitution enshrines as “underage marriage”.
Even if Northern Nigerian Muslim parents see nothing wrong in giving their daughters in underage marriages, the fact remains that such parents do so willingly, a necessary step in most Nigerian cultures, disparate as our values are.
The Emirate’s boast that the act of abduction, despite parents written protest that they were unaware of their underage girl going away, AND that they are not pleased with the so-called “marriage” of a school girl needs to be challenged in the law courts.
The matter of the kidnapped Chibok Girls was borne of the same hatred and mindset for others’ Christian religion by Muslims, though branded extremism.
Abducting Christian girls and forcing their conversion to Islam is not new in Nigeria but it has grown since 2015.
Fourteen year old Ese Rita Oruru from Opolo in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, abducted on 12 August 2015 by Yunusa Dahiru who reportedly sold his three-wheel taxi and used the proceeds to transport Ese, then aged 13, over 800 miles north to Kano State, where she was obliged to change her religion and name, and was “married”.
Early this year, the Chairman of the Chairman of Kano State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ransom Bello said that the case of forceful abduction of teenagers and eventual conversion into Islam was not new in Kano State but the Ese Oruru case just took the matter into the open more than others. Bishop Bello mentioned that abduction and conversion of Christian girls always use different methods that include intimidation of their relatives.
Here’s an image of Ese, the 14-year old who claimed she travelled from Bayelsa in Nigeria’s riverine South to Kano, the heart of Islamic Northern Nigeria “to be a Muslim.”
Photo Credit: naij.com
Ese was released, thanks to a news report by Punch which also reported the new case. A #FreeEse Campaign went across social media in Nigeria and abroad.
It is noteworthy that Ese spent seven (7) months in captivity during which she reportedly introduce herself as:
“My name is Aisha Chuwas. I am 17-year-old. I came here to be a Muslim and I will stay here.”
President Buhari can effect change in this area because Northern Nigeria Islamic society is quite monolithic. Nigeria, nay, the world, should rise with one voice on this scourge.
He is in a unique position to act on this before this horrible news goes worldwide, and another in a now seemingly never-ending boxes of evil deeds get checked against Nigeria.
• Isa Photo: Olaide Oyelude/PUNCH
Below is a link to the story that led to above comments
“… The CAN Chairman for Katsina State, Very Rev. Nelson Ugochukwu, however, told the emirate council that Isa’s marriage did not have the consent of her parents, who he said, were crying for justice in Abuja.
The CAN leader said the association was not in support of the marriage and her conversion to Islam.
He said, “This girl (Isa) standing before us is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school and not given out in marriage.
“We are not pleased and we demand justice. Her parents are in Abuja, crying for justice. In my religion, you cannot give out any lady in marriage without the consent of her parents. This marriage does not have the consent of this little girl’s parent. The parents are not happy with what has happened.
“As the CAN chairman in Katsina, I am the father of all Christians in the state. Our people are not happy. The parents told me that the girl is 14 years. She is supposed to be in school. I want justice to be done in this matter. I want the emirate to look into the matter. To us, the girl is still a Christian.”
CAN – Christian Association of Nigeria
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FRIDAY, OCTOBER 14, 2016. 7:25 a.m. [GMT]