By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.
The northern chapter of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) met with President Muhammadu Buhari on Thursday at the Presidential Villa, Abuja to protest the rise in what it termed the abduction of underage Christian girls in the north in the guise of marriage.
Led by its Chairman, Yakubu Pam, the Pan Christian body cautioned that if the unpleasant development was not reversed immediately, it could lead to a serious crisis in the region.
It could be recalled that the Emir of Katsina, Abdulmumini Usman had been 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.
Speaking to State House Correspondents after meeting with President Buhari, Pam said they came to present themselves as the northern CAN chapter to the President and tell him some of the challenges that Northern Christians were passing through.
According to him, the child abductors should take a cue from President Buhari who married off his daughter properly last weekend.
Pam said; “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.”
He also noted that one of the challenges confronting them was that Christians were having difficulties in expressing their faith in some parts of northern Nigeria.
“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.
“We congratulated him on the wedding of his daughter, the fight against corruption, Boko Haram wars as people have started returning to their homes and the return of the Chibok girls”, Pam said.
He however, noted that President Buhari responded positively to their petition, promising to look into the matter.
By; SUNDAY ODE, Abuja.