From Desmond Mgboh /Kano
Kano State Chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria has condemned the criminal adoption of Miss Ese Rita Oruru from Bayelsa to Kano State and the manner of her purported conversion from Christianity to Islam.
Chairman of the Association in the state, Bishop Ransom Bello, in a chat with Sunday Sun at the weekend, said the whole saga was unfair, unjust and unfortunate, adding that her eventual freedom from subtle captivity has been a huge relief to the Christian family in the state and beyond.
His added that: “I think that what has 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 times, our efforts to return the adoptees to their families were unsuccessful. We just hit brick walls. That is how the whole thing ends. ”
He insisted that the adoption and conversion of Christian girls under different guises, including the subtle intimidation their relatives and guardians, was rampant occurrence in the state.
He explained that, “We have pursued such issues in the past without any success. Our ladies were adopted and we had to approach the Islamic group , for instance, Hisbah Command, and nothing comes out of it. Sometimes, they keep the girl (s) with Hisbah. Sometimes, they keep the girl(s) with the local chief of the affected areas, what they call Hakimi. And we would intervene, but at the end, there will be no success. The girl will never return to her parents”
The Christian body further observed that many individuals, institutions and governance –actors, who were in a haste to declare their innocence and distance themselves from the present saga, may not be speaking the truth, saying they were well in the picture of the culture of faith based adoption in the state, but did nothing to discourage the mischief.
The Bishop held that, “ I don’t think they are really innocent. Truth is truth. Justice must be seen to be done. How do you adopt even a daughter of a pastor – a pastor, his daughter was adopted in Kano here and it was a tug of war …. I am not even sure how it was eventually resolved”
He regretted that these things happen all the time but added that,” because Christians were in the minority in the state , there was a limit to which anyone can push a matter of this nature, otherwise it might lead to religious crisis and because of that, they have their way all the time.”
He went further,“ We want the other religion to understand that whatever they don’t want us to do them, they should not do it to us. You cannot adopt an under-aged person and then proceed to convert the person, do all of these things without the consent of her parents. I don’t think we will like to do that to any Muslim girl. So, whatever they don’t like us to do to them, they should not do that to us, to avoid provocations”
“We don’t adopt Muslim girls and then, force them into conversion. No! If you marry your wife properly in a normal way, with all the consents that are needed and your wife decided to be a Christian or Muslim, so be it. But this kind of adoption- take the girl hostage- I don’t think is the right way of doing things. I think that we should respect the rights and belief of every religion so we don’t keep having conflicts”
He said that Christians in the state were relieved with the turn of events saying that, “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 such matters- girl child adoption.”
He added that the epic resolution of the present case of adoption and “conversion” has created a national awareness and has opened up reliable channels of complaints to the victims in the event of similar cases.
Bishop Bello stressed that, “Nobody is against any young couples 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,” adding that, “ We should be more considerate in the way we practice our faith so that we can have more religious harmony in the land”
He commended the Zonal Command of the Nigeria Police Force in Kano for their professionalism in the resolution of the adoption saga, a result of which the young girl is today reunited with her family in Yenogoa, but charged them to be on alert for any similar incidence.
He also commended the Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammad Sanusi 11 for his prompt directive, way back in August that the underaged girl be returned back to her parents, saying the monarch represents a father to all.