CRA Hails Conviction of Ese Oruru’s Abductor, Blasts Kogi CoS over Remarks Against Christianity
By Ralph Madugu
The Christian Rights Agenda (CRA) has described as heart-warming the judgment of a Federal High Court in Yenogoa, Bayelsa State, in the case of Ese Oruru who was abducted, converted to Islam and impregnated by one Yunusa Dahiru in Kano in 2015.
In a statement issued on Saturday by its interim Director of Publicity, Mr. Tom Chiahemen, the CRA also said that it was worrisome that the issue of forced conversion of Christian women and marrying them off to Muslims was becoming alarming in most Northern states governments were not only ignoring the plight of the victims, who included married women, but were even complicit in the heinous crime.
The group cited the case of Mrs. Regina Suleman, a mother of two who hails from Marabar Kanya in Kafur LGA of Katsina State, who was reportedly abducted by traditional rulers and Islamic clerics, had her Christian marriage quashed, forcefully converted to Islam and eventually married off to a Muslim man.
“Again, in Malamawa, Malumfashi local government, three more girls from the same family were being abducted and subjected to the same evil practices,” said CRA.
It lamented that in a secular state, citizens, especially women, “are forcefully abducted and converted into another religion against their fundamental right to freedom of religion as enshrined in the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The CRA added, “We commend the Federal Court in Bayelsa presided over by Justice Jane Inyang for the conviction and sentencing Yunusa to 26 years for his criminal actions against Ese Oruru.
“We applaud members of the Civil Society groups who despite all odds, stood to ensure that justice prevail 5 years after the incident.”
While calling on other CSOs operating in the north to rise up to the task of seeking justice for the many young Christian girls still being held captive, CRA called on the Katsina State Government to ensure the release of Amina Mai Nasara, Halima Mai Nasara, Ummi Dan’malam and Regina Suleman.
It also reiterated its earlier call on the Kano State Governor Abdullahi Umar Ganduje to effect the return Rebecca and all Christian girls to their parents.
It would be recalled that, recently, Governor Ganduje converted teenage Christian girls to Islam but claimed he did it under his personal foundation and not in his capacity as governor.
Meanwhile the CRA, which is a Christian organization set up to advocate the respect for the rights of Christians in line with the principles of freedom of religion, thoughts and beliefs, has strongly condemned what it termed “disparaging remarks” about Christianity by the Chief of Staff to Governor Yahaya Bello of Kogi State.
In a statement signed by Tom Chiahemen, CRA said that the comments were not only an insult to Christianity but also epitomized the hatred and bigotry against Christians in the government of Governor Yahaya Bello.
CRA disclosed that the CoS, during a programme on Radio Kogi, 93.5 FM, while discussing a lingering crisis among Muslims in Ebiraland over which sect should produce the Chief Imam of a mosque in Okene, veered off and compared denominations in Christianity to the dichotomy among the Islamic sects and castigated Christians for not being true followers of Jesus Christ.
The statement read in part: “Kogi governor’s Chief of Staff’s comments steams of discrimination, bigotry, hatred and the kind of bias that should not be in the heart of a government official.
“The Bible says, “out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaketh” (Matthew 12:34). Apparently, this Chief of Staff spoke from the prevalent disposition of the government at Lugard House in Lokoja, and that is unfortunate. A government and those who run it should be all-embracing. Governor Yahaya Bello is not a governor of Muslims, except he wants to be seen to be so. But if his CoS is showing open disdain for the Christian faith, it means the administration is doomed.”
The group added that “Christian denominations in Nigeria have not carried out cold-blooded murders; massacre of innocent persons in villages and cities; destruction of properties; raping of women, men and children; hatred, and outright genocide that is the stock-in-trade of some religious groups in Nigeria. An evidence of this is the fact that Ebiraland is the hotbed of senseless sectarian and ethnic killings in Kogi State in spite of the fact that the majority of the people in that part of the state belongs to one religion. Christianity does not advocate mass murder, hatred, and all the evils that manifest in Ebiraland.”
The Christian organization added that “Christian denominations have, instead, fostered freedom, peace, trust, respect for each other, and even led to development. In Nigeria, the Redeemed Christian Church of God is not at war with Deeper Life Christian Ministry; neither is the Baptist Church at war with Methodist Church. Churches are not daggers-drawn at each other, unlike what happens in Okene over the position of Imam of the mosque.”
The group advised the Kogi State governor to change his bias towards Christians in Kogi State, and counsel his staff against disparaging the Christian faith in the name of settling a dispute among Islamic sects.
It added that contrary to Asuku’s disparaging insinuation, the various Christian denominations in Nigeria, as “true followers of Jesus Christ,” do not, and have always condemned cold-blooded murders; massacre of innocent persons in villages and cities; destruction of properties; raping of women, men and children; hatred, and outright genocide being reported in some parts of Nigeria.
“An evidence of this is the view of many Nigerians that Ebiraland is the hotbed of senseless sectarian and ethnic killings in Kogi State in spite of the fact that the majority of the people in that part of the state belongs to one religion.
“CRA is of the candid opinion that instead of dissipating his energy disparaging Christianity, Governor Bello’s Chief of Staff, who ought to have been worried about this public perception of Ebiraland, should have been finding ways of how to change the narrative.”