A Nigerian Christian rights group has demanded “immediate” return of minor girls “forcefully converted to Islam” by Kano State Governor, Umar Ganduje.
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,” said the Christian Rights Agenda (CRA).
The Governor should “desist from his mission and release the girls and many others forcefully abducted and converted to Islam” or face legal actions, the CRA said in a press statement through its Director of Publicity, Mr. Tom Chiahemen.
Indigenous Hausa Christians in Kano State, according to the CRA have been “subjugated” under Ganduje’s administration and are denied their rights and privileges as citizens.
A clear example is denial of scholarships to Christian students studying in tertiary institutions in and outside Kano state, said CRA.
In its statement, the group said “Many Hausa Christians have also been denied employment opportunities and live in perpetual fear as second class citizens.
“Despite clear improvement in infrastructure in kano state, Christian dominated parts of Kano metropolis are still in their pre-1999 ruinous conditions.
“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.”
The “lame explanation” by the governor that the teen girls in question are “pagans” and not Christians “is not tenable because pagans don’t bear Biblical names such as Rebecca”, said CRA.
The group said it is 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 being treaded by Ganduje.”
“The deafening silence by Governor Lalong and Chief Ogbeh at this time is never golden and may be construed to be acquiescence,” the group said.