The Fear Over Islamisation
Recent events have fuelled the fear in some quarters that the North is bent on Islamising Nigeria. Prominent among this is the frequent abduction of under-aged Christian girls in Southern Nigeria by Hausas who take them to the North and force them into marriage and convert them into Islam against the girls’ wish. The case of Ese Oruru, a Christian child, readily comes to mind.
Oruru was abducted in August, 2015, from Bayelsa State by her boyfriend, Yunusa Dahiru, a.k.a. ‘Yellow’, and taken to Kano where she was kept in the Emir’s palace and forced into marriage and converted into Islam. Oruru, who was 14 years old at the time she was abducted and was supposed to be in school, was impregnated at such tender age while in captivity and she has now been delivered of a baby.
Although the incident generated widespread condemnation, several other cases have been reported lately, with the parents of the victims seemingly helpless after seeking all avenues to redress these lawless and ungodly acts to no avail.
Some of those involved in this human trafficking are connected to respected Islamic leaders and as such they are never called to order. Only Ese Oruru’s abductor was arrested and charged to court due to the hue and cry that trailed the incident. Several other incidents are swept under the carpet.
Several relevant authorities are complicit in this dangerous trend for turning a blind eye to the situation which could fan the embers of religious acrimony. The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP) should be at the forefront of agencies that should prevent incessant abduction of under-aged girls who are forced into marriage. But that is not the case as the agency has failed to rise in defence of the endangered girls.
The Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar, recently had cause to dispel the insinuation that there is a deliberate effort to islamise the country, wondering how that could be actualized in a multi-religious and multi-ethnic country such as Nigeria.
Another reason given for those singing the Islamisation song is the decision by the present administration to create grazing reserves across the country. It is believed that the grazing reserve for cattle owned by Fulani herdsmen is a ploy by the Northerners to establish their presence in every part of the country to actualize the North’s Islamisation agenda.
Also, the fear that the herdsmen would sustain their deadly clashes with communities where the reserves are to be located has prompted some state governors such as Samuel Ortom of Benue, Ayodele Fayose of Ekiti and others, to prevent such reserves from being created in their states.
Much as the people who nurse these fears are entitled to their own opinions, the government must not do anything that would undermine the peace and stability of the country. It is difficult to imagine that a country like Nigeria could be Islamised. But there is every reason to condemn the abduction and forceful conversion of Southern Christian under-aged girls into Islam. If this is not enjoying the tacit support of the Islamic leaders in the North, why have they not raised their voices against it? Their silence leaves much to be desired. These abductions must stop in order to prevent reprisal attacks by victims’ parents and their relatives.