Following the nationwide outcry over the abduction of 14-year-old Ese Oruru, the Kano State Chairman of the the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ransom Bello, has stated that the kidnap of girls and forced conversation to Islam is a “regular occurrence” and Christian leaders in the region have resigned to fate.
Bishop Bello, who said this in an interview with Daily Sun, expressed the frustration of CAN and the hope that Ese Oruru’s case will help bring attention to the kidnappings and forced conversion of Christians
He stated that: “I think that what happened is like a vindication. The right thing is now being done. I say this because we have witnessed a lot of similar situations in Kano State in the past. And many a time, our efforts to return the abductees to their families were unsuccessful. We just hit brick walls.”
The Bishop insisted that kidnapping was rampant in the state and that relatives of abducted girls were most times intimidated.
“We have pursued such issues in the past without any success. Our ladies were abducted and we had to approach the Islamic groups, for instance, the Hisbah Command, and nothing comes out of it. Sometimes, they keep the girl (s) with the Hisbah Command. Sometimes, they keep the girl(s) with the local chief of the affected areas, what they call Hakimi.”
While saying that most state actors and government officials who come out to deny their involvement in the sordid affair are more often than not, lying, Bishop Bello also noted that Christians are a minority in the state.
“I don’t think they are really innocent. Truth is truth. Justice must be seen to be done. How do you abduct even a daughter of a pastor? A pastor, his daughter, was abducted in Kano here and it was a tug of war ….I am not even sure how it was eventually resolved. There was a limit to which anyone can push a matter of this nature; otherwise it might lead to religious crisis.”
“We want the other religion to understand that whatever they don’t want us to do them, they should not do it to us. I don’t think we will like to do that to any Muslim girl. We don’t abduct Muslim girls and then, force them into conversion. No! If you marry your wife properly, with all the consents that are needed and your wife decided to be a Christian or Muslim, so be it.”
“Nobody is against any young couple getting married if they reach the age of marriage, if they are of age; but things should be done properly and, according to all the existing rules of their tradition, culture and faith. Now that this issue has become a national issue, we have a relief that, henceforth, in any part of this country, the right things must be done on matters of the girl-child abduction.”