“Avoid Forceful Conversion; Don’t Force Your Girls into Marriage” – Bishop Bello tells Christians in Kano
Chairman, Kano State chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Bishop Ransom Bello, has said that cases of forceful abduction of Christian teenagers and eventual conversion into Islam are not new things in Kano State. Bello said several efforts to stop the trend had failed, until the Oruru case.
Speaking with journalists, Bello said: “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 times, our efforts to return the abductees to their families were unsuccessful. We just hit brick walls.”
The cleric lamented that abduction and conversion of Christian girls, under
different guises, including the intimidation of their relatives, was a rampant occurrence in the state.
“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.”
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 abduct even a daughter of a pastor? A pastor’s daughter was abducted here in Kano and it was a tug-of-war. I am not even sure how it was eventually resolved.”
He expressed regret that those things happened because Christians were in the minority in the state, adding that, “there was a limit to which anyone could 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,” he said.
“If you marry your wife properly, with all the consents that are needed, and your wife decides 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 the people’s tradition, culture and faith,” he maintained.