The US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) has accused the Kano State Government of illegally abducting and islamising 16 Christian children.
The Washington-based group in a statement signed by its Principal Partner, Barrister Emmanuel Ogebe, and made available to News Express on Monday, urged Kano State Government to release the children, who, it said, would be spending two and three years in the custody of the Kano government, respectively.
The group alleged that Kano State under Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has constituted itself into the most religiously intolerant, aggressive and malicious state in Nigeria.
Giving graphic details of the alleged illegal abduction of the 16 orphans from a Christian Orphanage, UNSLG stated:
“Over a dozen children unjustly taken away from two Christian mission orphanages in Kaduna and Kano spent yet another Christmas in a Muslim orphanage in Kano.
“In a Christmas day raid, 19 children were first seized from the Kano branch of Du Merci orphanage and taken to Nassarawa Orphanage Kano on 25th December, 2019. Some of the children have remained in Kano State’s custody for two years now and marked their third Christmas in captivity this weekend.
“The Police and NAPTIP traveled to the Kaduna Du Merci Orphanage where another eight children were taken to join the 19 in Nassarawa Orphanage Kano on 31st, December, 2019. If they’re not released this week, these children unjustly taken by the government will also mark two years captivity on New Year’s eve.
“The Kano State Ministry of Women Affairs abandoned 2 sick kids in a private hospital and in 2020 released other 8 (15-22 years) children to Christian Association of Nigeria because the children were rebelling for not being allowed to attend church and school. The eldest orphan who was caring and protecting the younger ones was sent out of the Nassarawa Orphanage in December 2020.
“However 11 children are in Nassarawa Orphanage (10-15 years) and five children in Gaya Orphanage (4-8 years). All together more than half the seized children remain in their custody.
“The 16 children are being illegally detained by Kano state despite the dismissal of bogus child-trafficking charges against the missionary who established Du Mercy Orphanages – Prof Solomon Tarfa – more than six months ago.
“Worst of all, the children have been neglected, abused and islamized.
“Five minors who were separated from the older children and transferred to a remote village in Gaya are: – Emmanuel (5 years) whose name was changed to “Ismail,” Destiny (5 years), changed to “Samaila,” Mercy (4 years), changed to “Amina,” Martha (5 years), changed to “Khadijat,” and Esther (8 years), changed to “Fatima.”
“The children are reportedly emaciated, unkempt and traumatized. According to impeccable sources, the children can no longer speak English and now communicate only in Hausa having also been deeply indoctrinated with quarantine recital in Arabic.
“Even more bizarre, the five Christian orphans are being guarded by the Hisbah religious police of Kano state confirming the religious motive of the government in islamizing the Christian children.
“The forceful conversion of these young children is just the latest example of Gov Ganduje’s radical Islamization agenda.
“The Governor had been featured in a viral video bribing Christian girls with cash to convert to Islam. Now it’s been revealed that he not only uses state funds but Kano state government institutions in collaboration with federal government machinery to force conversions.
“Gov Ganduje who hosts the majority of Nigeria’s 13 million out-of-school children, deported tens of thousands of Muslim almajiri street urchins after utilizing them as underaged voters in the 2019 election rigging.
“If he truly had good intentions, why did he not accommodate and takeover these Muslim kids as he did with the Du Merci orphans?
“It is highly unfortunate that at a time when Islamic slave centers masquerading as schools were captives were recently freed were discovered in Kano, the government continues to hold captive orphans from a Christian orphanage where they were living nurtured and well-cared for.
“Instead of joining hands to help mitigate Nigeria’s shameful ranking as the country with the most out of school children in the world, Kano has turned English-speaking children into Hausa-speaking almajiris.
“We call on the Kano State government and the Federal Govt to immediately free the Du Merci 16, more so, following the acquittal of Prof Solo Tarfa on the abduction charges by the High Court of Kano since June 24, 2021.
“We especially draw urgent attention to the case of Moses one of the orphans who was burnt in the Kano State orphanage and hospitalized for seven months and is not receiving proper medical post op care.
“Having abandoned two in the hospital and released nine who have since returned to the very Du Mercy orphanage they were taken from, there is simply no basis, in law, fact or logic, for Kano state to continue to illegally detain the remaining 16 orphans.
“Kano State must RELEASE the Du Mercy 16 before the end of the year otherwise a supplementary report will be filed against Gov Ganduje and other key actors for child abuse and child conversion contrary to the Nigerian constitution amongst others.”