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US law group calls for release of 16 Christian orphans allegedly abducted, Islamised by Kano Government

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The US Nigeria Law Group (USNLG) has called for the release of 16 Christian children allegedly abducted and Islamised by the Kano State Government two years ago.

According to the Washington-based group, the children were forcibly taken away from two Christian mission orphanages in Kaduna and Kano during a Christmas Day raid in 2019.

This was contained in a statement issued by Emmanuel Ogebe, a principal partner of the group.

The group alleged that Kano State under Governor Abdullahi Ganduje has constituted itself into the most religiously intolerant, aggressive and malicious state in Nigeria.

UNSLG stated: “Over a dozen children unjustly taken away from two Christian mission orphanages in Kaduna and Kano spent yet another Christmas in a Muslim orphanage in Kano.

“In a Christmas Day raid, 19 children were first seized from the Kano branch of Du Merci orphanage and taken to Nasarawa Orphanage Kano on 25th December, 2019. Some of the children have remained in Kano State’s custody for two years now and marked their third Christmas in captivity this weekend.

“The police and NAPTIP (National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons) travelled to the Kaduna Du Merci Orphanage where another eight children were taken to join the 19 in Nasarawa Orphanage, Kano on 31st December, 2019. If they’re not released this week, these children unjustly taken by the government will also mark two years of captivity on New Year’s Eve.

“The Kano State Ministry of Women Affairs abandoned 2 sick kids in a private hospital and in 2020 released other 8 (15-22 years) children to Christian Association of Nigeria because the children were rebelling for not being allowed to attend church and school. The eldest orphan who was caring for and protecting the younger ones was sent out of the Nasarawa Orphanage in December 2020.

“However, 11 children are in Nasarawa Orphanage (10-15 years) and 5 children in Gaya Orphanage (4-8 years). Altogether more than half the seized children remain in their custody.

“The 16 children are being illegally detained by Kano State despite the dismissal of bogus child-trafficking charges against the missionary who established Du Mercy Orphanages – Prof Solomon Tarfa – more than six months ago.

“Worst of all, the children have been neglected, abused and Islamized.
Five minors who were separated from the older children and transferred to a remote village in Gaya are: – Emmanuel (5 years) whose name was changed to ‘Ismail’, Destiny (5 years) changed to ‘Samaila’, Mercy (4 years) changed to ‘Amina’, Martha (5 years) changed to ‘Khadijat’, and Esther (8 years) changed to ‘Fatima’.

“The children are reportedly emaciated, unkempt and traumatized. According to impeccable sources, the children can no longer speak English and now communicate only in Hausa having also been deeply indoctrinated with quarantine recital in Arabic.

“Even more bizarre, the five Christian orphans are being guarded by the Hisbah religious police of Kano State confirming the religious motive of the government in Islamizing the Christian children.

“The Hisbah has notoriously just recently chided a Muslim lady for winning a beauty pageant and has serially harassed Muslims and Christians alike for ‘immoral haircuts’ amongst other strange actions.

“The forceful conversion of these young children is just the latest example of Governor Ganduje’s radical Islamization agenda. The Governor had been featured in a viral video bribing Christian girls with cash to convert to Islam.

“Now it’s been revealed that he not only uses state funds but Kano State government institutions in collaboration with federal government machinery to force conversions.

“Governor Ganduje who hosts the majority of Nigeria’s 13 million out-of-school children, deported tens of thousands of Muslim almajiri street urchins after utilizing them as underaged voters in the 2019 election rigging.

“If he truly had good intentions, why did he not accommodate and take over these Muslim kids as he did with the Du Merci orphans?

“It is highly unfortunate that at a time when Islamic slave centres masquerading as schools where captives were recently freed were discovered in Kano, the government continues to hold captive orphans from a Christian orphanage where they were living nurtured and well-cared for.

“Instead of joining hands to help mitigate Nigeria’s shameful ranking as the country with the most out-of-school children in the world, Kano has turned English-speaking children into Hausa-speaking almajiris.

“Sadly this is the same model applied by the Federal Government with regard to the Chibok schoolgirls in the USA. Following their hostile takeover of five Chibok schoolgirls, none of them has graduated university, five and a half years after FGN handed them to the Murtala Mohammed Foundation.

“Indeed the majority did not pass secondary school in the US till date with some dropping out of school altogether while their non-government classmates have graduated with various university degrees.

“At least one of the escaped Chibok girls converted to Islam in the US in the custody of Murtala Mohammed Foundation and the Federal Government months after they were taken from International Human Rights lawyer, Emmanuel Ogebe who sponsored them to the USA.

“Like the Du Merci kids in Kano State custody, most of the Chibok girls handed to Murtala Mohammed Foundation by the Nigerian government in America have not improved English-speaking after five years.

“We call on the Kano State government and the Federal Government to immediately free the Du Merci 16 more so following the acquittal of Prof Solo Tarfa on the abduction charges by the High Court of Kano since June 24, 2021.

“We especially draw urgent attention to the case of Moses, one of the orphans who was burnt in the Kano State orphanage and hospitalized for seven months and is not receiving proper medical post-op care https://www.csw.org.uk/2021/11/09/press/5474/article.htm

“Having abandoned two in the hospital and released nine who have since returned to the very Du Mercy orphanage they were taken from, there is simply no basis, in law, fact or logic, for Kano state to continue to illegally detain the remaining 16 orphans.

“Kano State must RELEASE the Du Mercy 16 before the end of the year otherwise a supplementary report will be filed against Governor Ganduje and other key actors for child abuse and child conversion contrary to the Nigerian constitution amongst others.

“We also want to caution Kano State about the case of three Christian men mischievously charged with kidnapping for rescuing the fiancé of one of them who was being forcefully wedded to a Muslim by Hisbah. We’re monitoring this case which was reported at NPF Farm Center Division.

“Kano State under Governor Ganduje has constituted itself into the most religiously intolerant, aggressive and malicious state in Nigeria.

“In conclusion, we note the passing of great human rights icon and activist, Bishop Desmond Tutu of South Africa. A servant of the most high has gone to his reward. He used his faith as a tool for freedom and liberation unlike in Kano State where religion is misused as a tool for enslavement, coercion and oppression. We can do better.

“Nigeria’s clerics, Christian and Muslim, should learn from Desmond Tutu and advocate for victims and not terrorists, for the oppressed and not the oppressor.
Free the Du Mercy 16 now!”

A report by Punch dated February 23, 2020 reads, ”On December 25, 2019, police and officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition and Trafficking of Persons stormed the orphanage at No. 15 Iroko Avenue, Nomansland, Kano, and arrested one of the owners of the home, Prof Solomon Tarfa.

“The law enforcers claimed the orphanage had operated for years without approval, hence they moved the rescued children to Nasarawa Children’s Home owned by the Kano State Government.”

Reacting to the allegations, the Kano State Information Commissioner, Muhammad Garba, refuted the claims in a telephone interview with SaharaReporters, stating that he had never heard of such an orphanage before.

He said, “There is nothing like Du Merci orphanage in Kano State. It is in which local government area? I cannot remember such an orphanage home in Kano. In most cases, we don’t have orphanage homes in Kano but let me know, you need to investigate and find out so you can be sure.

“I know some local government areas in Kano where we have concentrations of Christians. These children, where are their parents, from where were they taken, you can’t just take orphans like that. They should have relations right? Did they pick them from the streets? You need to find out from where they picked these kids because there are cases of those children stolen from Kano taken to the South and converted to Christianity. They conducted a DNA test.

“For us in Kano, we don’t do that, there is no compulsion in Islam and anyone in Nasarawa orphanage home is well treated. I and other people used to give them good contributions. I don’t know if there are Christians there I haven’t investigated. If there are Christians there, there is no way they will convert them to Islam forcefully.”

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How secret police, DSS blocked British envoy from meeting Nnamdi Kanu during court sitting

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Operatives of the Department of State Services on Wednesday blocked a British diplomat from speaking with the leader of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu.

Eno Agodo, British Vice Consul, Lagos State, had attended Kanu’s trial before Justice Binta Nyako at the Federal High Court, Abuja on Wednesday where the pro-Biafran agitator appeared on a 15-count amended charge bordering on treasonable felony and terrorism.

At the close of proceedings in the suit at the Federal High Court in Abuja, on Wednesday, Agodo first sought the permission of Ifeanyi Ejiofor, Kanu’s lead counsel to speak with his client, which was granted.

But as the British envoy gained access to the dock where Kanu, who holds dual citizenship in Nigeria and the United Kingdom, was speaking with family members, she was intercepted by the Director of Legal Services of the secret police and operatives who had formed a wall around the IPOB leader.

Thereafter, journalists tried to speak with Agodo on what transpired, but she declined.

A political counsellor at the British High Commission, Jonathan, Bacon had written a letter dated January 11, 2022 and addressed to the trial judge, Nyako, where he sought permission for Agodo to attend Kanu’s trial from January 18 to 20, 2022.

In the letter entitled, “Nnamdi Kanu Trial-Access for British Consular Official to Attend Federal High Court, 18th to 20th January, 2022”, the British High Commission, specifically requested that Agodo attended the IPOB leader’s trial as an “observer.”

Early this month how Kanu, through his lawyer, Ejiofor petitioned British government, the United States and the United Nations to grace his appearance in court.

Kanu after he fled Nigeria in 2017 lived in the United Kingdom, following invasion of his home in by Nigerian soldiers in 2017.

This stalled his trial in Nigeria for years until he was rearrested, reportedly in Kenya, and brought back to Nigeria, in June last year.

While abroad, Kanu continued reaching out to his Nigerian followers through social media channels as violence linked to the Eastern Security Network (ESN), the armed wing of IPOB, escalated in the South-east.

During the period, the UK government also resisted calls from the Nigerian government to declare IPOB a terrorist organisation as it was done in Nigeria in 2017.

Blocking the American lawyer from having access to Kanu on Wednesday highlights what appears to be government’s desperation to cut him off from having any contact with foreigners or their agents.

A similar scenario played out during Kanu’s trial on Tuesday, when Mike Ozekhome, a Senior Advocate of Nigeria (SAN), who led the IPOB leader’s defence team, made frantic but unsuccessful efforts to get Bruce Fein, a United States lawyer, to attend the court session.

Fein, a counsel to the secessionist group in the U.S, has not been able to have an audience with Kanu, as he claimed several attempts to visit the IPOB leader at the SSS detention facility in Abuja had been resisted.

“I have not been able to meet with my client, Mr Kanu since I arrived Nigeria,” Fein said in an interview last December.

“Officials of the State Security Service wouldn’t let me meet Kanu,” Fein added, saying, the action of the spy agency is a “gross violation” of Kanu’s fundamental rights.

The American constitutional counsel had received similar treatment during previous proceedings in the case.

While it could not be ascertained if Agodo’s presence in court was in response to Kanu’s request, the American embassy had no representative at the proceedings last Tuesday and Wednesday

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Prepare for uprising worse than #EndSARS if you hike fuel price, Abdulsalami warns Buhari

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Nigeria’s former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), has warned that the soaring hardship in the country might result into another nationwide conflagration, worse than the 2020 #EndSARS protests against police brutality.

He cautioned the Federal Government against increasing pump price of fuel, saying a rise in petrol price now will push more Nigerians deeper into poverty.

Abdusalami, who ruled Nigeria between 1998 and 1999, said this, yesterday, at the 19th Daily Trust Dialogue with the theme: ‘2023: The Politics, Economy and Security.’

While noting that the past three months had seen an improvement in economic growth rates and inflation, Abdulsalami, however, said the impact of these numbers on the lives and wellbeing of the ordinary Nigerian is suspect.

He said unemployment and underemployment remain at record levels, adding that over 80 million Nigerians are still caught up in needless poverty.

He said: “All of these tend to have negative effects on security. In fact, Nigeria now faces a food security crisis that is compounded by COVID-19 pandemic and banditry in many states in northern Nigeria.

“These have disrupted the fragile value chains across the country and negatively impacted the ability of Nigerians to produce, process and distribute food. The result is a continuing rise in prices of food items beyond the reach of many families.

“On top of all these, fuel prices are expected to rise significantly in the coming months as announced last November. When this happens, as the government has planned, it will push many millions deeper into poverty.

“Young people and women are the demographic groups most affected by the country’s dire economic outlook. For example, estimates by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS) shows that while the national unemployment rate stood at 33 per cent by the end of 2020, unemployment for young people between ages 15 and 34 years was 10 per cent higher at 42.5 per cent.

“If not carefully managed, the frustrations of these groups could easily boil over into a national conflagration worse than what we saw months ago during the #EndSARS protests. However, these are not doomsday predictions, but a warning to which all stakeholders must pay heed.”

On insecurity, Abdulsalami, who is also the Chairman of the National Peace Committee (NPC), stated that the situation has overstretched the country’s security forces and has led to the death of thousands.

He noted that major cause of insecurity is the proliferation of all calibre of weapons in Nigeria in particular, and in the West Africa sub-region generally.

Quoting the Global Conflict Tracker report compiled by the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations, Abdulsalami said some 350,000 persons have been killed and three million displaced directly or indirectly in the conflict in the Northeast since 2009.

As the 2023 election draws closer, the former military leader urged all politicians to watch their words and deeds carefully, and avoid saying or doing things that will further heat up the polity.

He said: “I have not seen this country in serious challenges of its existence as seen at this time. I have witnessed the Nigerian Civil War and not even that was so much a threat to our existence like we are witnessing today.

“And of course all attention is focused on the political class. The solutions to all the problems that have been highlighted particularly security and economy are problems the politicians are expected to solve.”

FORMER Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, said the country needs a capable leader who will address the problems facing the nation.

Also speaking at the Daily Trust dialogue, he said: “What is important now is to identify a competent leader that can get us out of these crises.

“We have the capacity to pull this country out of her present predicament. We must do the needful and most importantly, I believe a leadership that will prioritise education is desirable.”

IN his remarks, Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, urged Nigerians to be part of politics and governance, as the institutions are too important to be left for politicians alone.

“We learnt in military training that war is too important to be left to the soldiers alone. Therefore, national development is too important to be left to the politicians alone,” he said.

Abubakar, who is also President of the Nigeria Supreme Council of Islamic Affairs (NSCIA), stressed that dialogue remains the best option to resolve issues.

He said: “What wars cannot resolve, dialogue can resolve it. I am an advocate of dialogue and I cannot be tired of dialogue. Without security, you can’t develop, you can’t even worship God. We cannot get tired and we must not get tired of talking peace.”

Speaking, spokesman of the Northern Elders’ Forum (NEF), Hakeem Baba-Ahmed, said the situation in the country has shown Nigerians that the country does not need an ethnic president in 2023.

While expressing concerns over the tension in the polity in the buildup to the general elections, Baba-Ahmed said 90 per cent of Nigerian governors have no business being anywhere near power.

According to him, most of the governors don’t have the preparation, background, and competencies to govern.

“One of the worst things you can do is to create huge additional anger around the cost of living, the cost of fuel, cost of prices, pushing the citizen into more depression and you want to have elections just a few months after”, he stated.

While calling for restructuring of the country, he added: “What we really need to do is put the federal system on the table and ask what is wrong?

“What is it that makes it impossible to reduce the powers or to regulate the powers of governance, restructure the country but this is a word that is anathema to a lot of people in power today.”

For Governor Babagana Zulum of Borno State, Nigerians must look into the possibility of selecting good leaders rather than the elections itself.

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17 killed, 59 injured by explosion in western Ghana

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At least 17 people were killed and 59 injured Thursday in a devastating explosion in a western Ghana town after a truck carrying explosives collided with a motorcycle, the government said.

The blast left a huge crater and reduced dozens of buildings to dust-covered piles of wood and metal in Apiate, near the city of Bogoso some 300 kilometres (180 miles) west of the mineral-rich West African country’s capital Accra.

Footage showed locals rushing towards a raging fire and rising plumes of black smoke to inspect the damage, while rescue workers waded through the rubble for survivors caught in the devastation.

“A total of 17 people have unfortunately been confirmed dead, and 59 injured people have been rescued,” Information Minister Kojo Oppong Nkrumah said in a statement released overnight.

The minister said initial signs point to “an accident involving a truck transporting explosive materials for a mining company, a motorcycle and a third vehicle” which took place near an electrical transformer.

Out of 59 people injured, 42 are receiving treatment in hospitals or health centres and “some are in critical condition”, Nkrumah added.

Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo called it a “truly sad, unfortunate and tragic incident”.

The government said those in critical condition would be moved to hospitals in Accra and police asked surrounding villages to open their schools and churches to accommodate any additional casualties.

A team of police and army explosion experts were deployed to “avoid a second explosion” and put in place security measures after the blast, the government said in a press release.

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