Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The Christian Rights Agenda (CRA) has condemned the forceful conversion of some Christian girls from Christianity to Islam by Kano State Governor, Abdullahi Umar Ganduje, describing the act as provocative.
The CRA in a statement issued by its interim Director of Publicity, Tom Chiamen, noted with concern that since becoming governor in 2015, Ganduje has made it a state policy to embark on mass conversion of indigenous Hausa Christians using money and coercion every Friday.
According to the statement made available to journalists, “The indigenous Hausa Christians in the state have been subjugated under Ganduje’s administration, and are denied their rights and privileges as citizens.
“A clear example is the denial of scholarships to Christian students studying in tertiary institutions in and outside Kano State.”
The group alleged that many Hausa Christians have also been denied employment opportunities and live in perpetual fear as second class citizens in the state.
It stated that despite clear improvement in infrastructure in the state, Christian dominated parts of Kano metropolis are still in their pre-1999 ruinous conditions.
The group further said: “But expending state resources for jihad-inspired conversion of Christian minors by force, tricks, intimidation, threats and all kinds of backward means is the most annoying insult indigenous Christians of Kano State are forced to live with under Ganduje.”
CRA stated that the lame explanation by the governor that the teenage girls in question are pagans and not Christians is not tenable “because pagans don’t bear Biblical names such as Rebecca.
“So we demand that these girls and many others be returned to their parents with immediate effect or we will be left with no other option than to take legal action against the state government in addition to reporting him to the international community, including the International Criminal Court (ICC), United Nations Commission on Human Rights, the governments of the United States of America, Britain and the European Union.
“We call on all men and women of goodwill, including President Muhammadu Buhari, to caution Ganduje to desist from his mission and release the girls and many other forcefully abducted and converted to Islam.”
The Christian group said it is very disheartening that the Chairman of the Northern Governors’ Forum and Plateau State Governor, Simon Lalong, and the Chairman of the Arewa Consultative Forum (ACF), Chief Audu Ogbeh, who both are Christians, have remained silent over this dangerous path by towed by Ganduje.
According to CRA, “The deafening silence by Lalong and Ogbeh at this time is never golden and may be construed to be acquiescence. It is time they came out and talk.”
The governor’s action, the group added, portends great danger to the fragile unity, peace and stability of Nigeria as a country.