Northern Christian leaders Thursday have cautioned President Muhammadu Buhari to intervene in rising cases of abduction of underage Christian girls in the region, where they (girls) are converted to islam and given out in marriage without consent of their parents.
In a meeting with Buhari, Chairman, northern chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Yakubu Pam, warned that if the dangerous trend was not reversed immediately, it could lead to crisis in the region. Pam told journalists after meeting Buhari, that they came to introduce themselves as leaders of the northern chapter of the Group, and to tell him some of the challenges Northern Christians face.
“We also talked on the Issue of girl child abduction in the north, in some Northern states some young girls and children are being abducted at 12 years old and the parents will just hear that the girls have been married to traditional rulers and emirs.
“This is gathering a cloud of crisis already and if that is not taken care of, it will lead to a serious crisis. These are the issues we told the President. Pam also said, one key challenge was that Christians in parts of the north were having difficulties expressing their faith.
“We have also told him some of the difficulties we are passing through, the Fulani herdsmen and the farmers need to be protected and in fact we told the President that we have been encouraging our youths to go into farming and they need to be protected and when they come into the city, there is no employment, that is why farmers must be protected.
Notable abduction of Christian girls include the recent one by Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman, accused of marrying off a 14 year old Habiba Isiyaku to her alleged abductor, Jamilu Lawal. Habiba’s father alleged that his daughter was abducteed from school, Government Senior Secondary School, Kudun Kankara, Kastina State by Jamilu and has been forcefully converted to Islam and married off by the Emir without her parents consent to Lawal.
There was also a case of 14 Year Old Ifesinach Ani who was allegedly abducted in Abuja and taken to Maiduguri, then Zaria, where she was said to have been married off and 13 Year Old Blessing Gopep who was also allegedly stolen at age 12 in 2015 by two people, Iliyu and Umaru from Bauchi motor park. Her name has been changed to Mariam.
Other reported cases are: Patience Paul a 15-year-old school girl who was allegedly forcefully abducted in Sokoto State by two men, Ifeoma Nichodemus who is 16 was allegedly kidnapped and reportedly left her parents home in the Hausa community in Zaria, Kaduna in May 2014 after a fight with her mother and 16 Year Old Linda Christopher who was stolen at age 16 in November 2015 by a certain Shagari in Bauchi and amongst others.
Pam told journalists that President Buhari had responded positively to their petition, promising to look into the matter.