Step father to Ifesinachi Ani, the abducted 14-year old SS 2 student of Government Secondary School, Apo Resettlement, Abuja, Mr. Sunday Ani, at the weekend appealed to President Muhammadu Buhari and Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State to rescue their daughter, The Authority reports.
Ifesinachi was kidnapped six months ago by a syndicate said to be working for a controversial Emir in the North West zone. She has since been converted to Islam and may have been married off. The linkman to the abductors simply known as Baba Abdul is in Police net, but we are not yet aware of the extent of success recorded in the search for the missing school girl.
Speaking to The Authority on Sunday at his home in Umunnaji Ngene village in Amechi Awkunanaw, Enugu South Local Government Area of Enugu State, Mr. Ani stated that Buhari and Ugwuanyi should not allow his daughter to be abducted and converted to Islam, because the family never give consent to such and the entire thing was like a Gestapo mafia affair.
Mr Sunday Ani further pleaded with the Inspector-General of Police (IGP), Solomon Arase, to task his men to rescue her abducted child.
“We hear that her captors are very powerful and that they are boasting that nothing will happen. That is why we are appealing to Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi to break his silence over this matter and come to our rescue. President Muhammadu Buhari as the father of the nation should not sleep over this issue.
“When they were asking us for votes, they promised to take care of us. The abduction of this girl is a serious matter and we expect out Governor to champion this cause because he has the capacity to talk to his colleagues in government and they will do something and rescue this girl whose abduction is reported to have been sponsored by an Emir in the North West zone of the country. Let the government help us recover this girl the way they handled that of Ese Oruru who was abducted in Bayelsa State,” he pleaded.
Already, the entire Amechi Awkunanaw town is tensed-up following reports of the abduction and conversion of the teenager to Islam. Most of the youths in the community are boiling over and are contemplating moving over to the north in search of their abducted sibling if government continues to treat the issue with lethargy.
However, the immediate-past Councillor of the ward, Hon Chinwuba Nnaji has been placating the youths along with some elders in the community. They are calming already frayed and charged nerves, promising them that government and security agencies are on top of the situation and would definitely rescue the girl.
Mr. Ani informed our reporters that Ifesinachi is the second child out of four children of her mother, stressing that what happened to her was strange to them especially as Ifesinachi and the other three children were well nurtured to be responsible people in the noble tradition of Umunnaji Ngene village and Amechi Awkunanaw in general.
He explained that although Ifesinachi’s mother called to inform him of the abduction of the girl, he has been in shock over the development, adding that since he has nobody to run to for assistance, the members of the family have resorted to prayers, especially when he learnt that the Police at the Apo Resettlement, had swept the report of the abduction under the carpet since six months ago when Mrs. Ani reported the matter.
He however extolled the Management and staff of The Authority Newspapers for their consistency and obvious determination to assist the family get government to do what they should do to rescue the girl, stressing that such act of championing the cause of the less privileged and voiceless will not go unrewarded by the almighty God.
Meanwhile, Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and political analysts yesterday rose against the kidnappings of young Christian girls and converting them to Islam, concluding that it was part of a greater plot to Islamise Nigeria by the Hausa/Fulani oligarchy.
They condemned spates of abduction and conversion, stressing that what was happening in the country, were “against natural justice, equity, good conscience, rule of law, right to religion and choice of association and against all known tenets in the constitution and fundamental human rights”.
According to a political commentator, Mr. Larry Onwuta, the series of abductions and conversion of young Christian girls are well orchestrated agenda to multiply and take over Christians by force into Islam and described the trend as terrible.
Onwuta said: “This is an agenda of the North in this political dispensation. For long, we have been fighting against Islamisation of Nigeria but unfortunately, most people in this part of the world have refused to understand the reality on ground.
“Now, the Islamisation agenda method against Ndigbo have taken very broad and different dimensions following the new strategy embarked upon by the Islamic conversion which are focused on kidnapping of our young girls and youths, converting them to Islam, which amounts to total violation of their fundamental rights, negligence of their fundamental rights, religion, speech and natural justice. All Christians should rise up and fight against Islamization of Nigeria’’.
For the founder of Integrated Anti-Human Trafficking and Community Development (INTACOM) Africa, Hope Okoye, religion should not be foisted on anybody, especially the minor.
Okoye blamed it on President Buhari, saying he should call his people to order as the people doing all these are all from the North and they all belong to the same religion.
The INTACOM Africa’s boss said: “If President Buhari is really interested in the progress and development of the country, he should call his religious group and Northerners. He should speak up now against this evil and senseless abduction of Christians and minors for that matter in the name of conversion and reward for conversion.
“He should condemn it in its entirety and take practical steps to stop it. He should say something and warn his people against doing all these. He should mobilise everything he has against these people constituting nuisance to Islam as a religion.
“All Islamic scholars and leaders should condemn this act as it is despicable. In religion, you don’t foist it on anybody. It is an abuse of rights to religion, and you can’t force it on anybody. The constitution is against it, human rights is against it and it’s against natural justice. God is against that, hence it is a matter of choice; it should not be against one’s will.”
For the Campaign for Democracy (CD), Southeast zone, rising from its meeting in Onitsha yesterday, they noted that President Buhari’s silence over the issue shows absolute betrayal to the constitution and the fundamental rights of its citizens, which he swore to defend and uphold.
Chairman of CD, Southeast zone, Dede Uzor. A. Uzor, in a statement said Buhari should ensure such practices are immediately stopped in the spirit of one Nigeria. Dede Uzor said: “This is a total case of abduction and kidnapping and it is against natural justice. Such practices should be proscribed; it’s an insult for underage, innocent children. This is against freedom of religion; against common justice; against natural justice. They hide under the cloak of religion or one Emir to abuse innocent girls by abduction and kidnapping not on consent. Marriage is by consent and not by force and once force is involved, it is a clear case of rape.”
The CLO demanded the immediate arrest and prosecution of all the people involved in the abduction of Ifesinachi Ani, adding that there could be several other Ifesinachi’s out there, but who are not yet exposed. On his part, Anambra State Chairman of CLO, Comrade Aloysius Attah, said the constitution is clear on how to handle such issues and wondered why freedom of religious worship and association were being abused especially on innocent children.
“Abducting people and converting them to Islam is against the constitution and the law must take its due course. Muslim leaders are not untouchables and the law should be applied to them and this illegality must stop if this country must move forward,” the CLO boss stressed.