*Now CAN knows it’s mischief to tag Muslims, tribe’s people criminals over individuals’ crimes, Respondents retort
The Nigeria Police has formally handed over to the Kano State government eight out of the nine rescued children, who were forcefully abducted in the state and converted from Islam to Christianity before they were sold into child slavery in Anambra State, an act that the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) has tagged “Kidnapping for Christ”.
This was contained in a statement signed by the Director-General, Media and Publicity to the Governor, Mallam Aminu Yassar in Kano on Tuesday.
The Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), few days ago however, replied MURIC that there is no kidnapping for Christ as, according the Christian body, criminals abound everywhere, a position considered strictly unbelievable coming from a religious body that would have overblown the situation had the now uncovered kidnappers been of Islamic or Northern background.
According to Yassar, the ninth child is ill and currently receiving medication at a hospital in the state capital.
Represented by the Secretary to the State Government, Alhaji Usman Alhaji, the governor commended the Commissioner of Police and the Special Anti–Kidnapping squad for rescuing the children.
He said that since the incidence, the police had appropriately managed the situation to the extent that no breach of peace occurred anywhere in the state.
“On this matter, specifically, the government of Kano state has been in constant contact with the security agencies because of the gravity of the situation and the need to make sure that the situation does not degenerate to something else.
“We have vowed to protect lives and property of the people and the government is remaining resolute in that direction,” he said.
“In this connection, I want to appeal to parents of these rescued children to always watch their wards and restrict themselves and the kids from unnecessary media exposure and dealings with NGOs,” he said.
Ganduje said that this was because some people might likely exploit the situation for selfish reasons.
The governor told the parents that investigation into the case of the children and similar cases was going on, adding that they should guard their actions in order not to jeopardise the work of security agencies.
Ganduje announced that the state government would unfold a special arrangement for the rescued kids during a special meeting with them and their families soon.
Earlier, the Commander, Anti Kidnapping Squad, Nigeria Police, Kano Command, CSP Babagana Saje, explained that it was the reported kidnap of one child that led his men to promptly apprehend the suspects, leading to the discovery of the kidnapping racket in Kano and Onitsha.
“We have arrested some of the suspects including a man and his wife, who kidnap children here and sell them off in Onitsha.
“They sell the children for about N200,000 to a lady in Onitsha who in turn sells them to her customers in Lagos.
”In fact, two of the children were found with her as domestic servants,” he explained.
Saje remarked that the police found out that the kidnapped children were renamed and converted from Islam to Christianity to conceal their original identity and prevent them from being discovered.
“Parents of seven out of the nine have identified their children, following the necessary security procedures, but two are yet to be claimed.
“I, therefore, want to urge parents whose children have been kidnapped in Kano to please come forward and identify the remaining two kids in our custody.
“All the suspects, in this case, will be taken to court as soon as the police complete investigations,” he assured.
Speaking on behalf of the parents, Malam Muhammad Ali, explained that his daughter Aisha was abducted in 2016.
He said all the parents were overwhelmed with joy reuniting with their kids and thanked the Nigeria Police for a wonderful job.
It will be recalled that the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) had finally reacted to the Muslim Rights Concern (MURIC) over comment suggesting people are “kidnapping for Christ”, considering that those who kidnapped the Kano Muslim kids first converted them to Christianity before their onward sell off into “child slavery” or adoption.
Professor Ishaq Akintola, Director of MURIC, had condemned the kidnap of nine children from Kano State. In his condemnation, the MURIC leader had said: “kidnapping for Christ is disgusting, nauseating, wicked and reprehensible.”
Reacting to the statement, Joseph Hayab, Chairman of CAN in Northern Nigeria, condemned Akintola’s statement, stating that criminality abounds in every religion. He said: “Criminals abound everywhere and in every religion, for MURIC to say a crime was perpetrated for Christ, is sheer mischief aimed at provoking Christians,” he said.
“How could a rational, sane and educated person, associate the action of criminals to a religion? There are many instances where Christian girls were abducted, forcefully converted to Islam and married off by criminals in Northern Nigeria. In some of these cases, the police either refused to act or turned blind eyes.
“Will it be right to accuse all Muslims of the action of such criminals? The answer is no…There is nothing like kidnapping for Christ.
“CAN northern states, therefore, condemned anybody carrying people’s children away and supports security agencies to investigate the matter and prosecute the culprits. The abduction of children is a criminal offence. MURIC can call whoever is found doing that whatever name they like, but don’t associate criminality with Christ”, the CAN leader said.
Hayab however might have forgotten how his CAN would have handled the Kano adoption if it had been the other way round, many Nigerians have expressed, one of them adding that, “Now that CAN leaders know that needle is not good to pinch other person in the body, they should always consider the feelings of Muslims or other tribe’s people before they tag them entirely as criminals when one person from their side commits a crime.”