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HURIWA flays abduction, forced conversion of girls in Kaduna, others

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Human Rights Writers Association of Nigeria (HURIWA) has condemned the Kaduna, Katsina and Kano state governments for failing to stop the abduction of Christian girls and their forced conversion to Islam by some unscrupulous persons aided by some lawless security forces.

The group said it was unconstitutional for any citizen of Nigeria to be abducted criminally and compelled to change their religious orientations.
HURIWA spoke against the backdrop of a report by the United States of America-based International Christian Concern (ICC) that seven Christian girls in Kaduna and Kano were forcefully kidnapped and converted to Islam after forced marriage.

“We are worried to read the report that no fewer than seven Christian women, one of them married, were earlier this year abducted in Kaduna, Kano and Katsina and married off to radical Muslim men and forcibly converted to Islam,” it stated.

According to HURIW, the information is released by Persecution.org, the official website of the ICC. The group recalled that the U.S.-based watchdog credited the report to Hausa Christians Foundation (HACFO), claiming that the incidents took place between March 23 and April 30 this year.

ICC had quoted HACFO as stating, “Five girls were kidnapped in Kaduna state, one in Kano and the already married lady was taken from Katsina.

“We are saddened to report to you the battles we have been fighting even amid the lockdown. HACFO has been working on the following tragic incidents of abduction and forceful Islamisation, despite that the lockdown has limited our efforts.”

National Coordinator of HURIWA, Emmanuel Onwubiko, and the National Media Affairs Director, Zainab Yusuf, in a statement yesterday in Abuja, described the practice of forcing young girls into marriage and then compelling them to convert from their religion to Islam as a grave violation of the constitutionally-protected freedoms of religion and conscience, “just as it violates their fundamental freedoms to right to the dignity of their human person which are guaranteed in Chapter Four of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria of 1999.”

The group warned the Katsina, Kano and Kaduna governments to end the barbaric practice of abducting and marrying off Christian girls to Islamic adherents because “it is a sinister attempt to foist a new identity on those people as against the tenets of the constitution.”

Also, HURIWA condemned the murderous attacks by armed Fulani herdsmen in Agwa community of Oguta in Imo State in which an elderly farmer was hacked to death.

Citing a witness’ account, it averred that the herdsmen headed straight to the community of the deceased, even as residents scampered for safety as they unleashed mayhem and caused chaos forcing many residences to be displaced.

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