from EMEKA OKONKWO in Abuja, Nigeria
ABUJA, (CAJ News) – RELIGIOUS tensions have returned to haunt Nigeria after nine children were alleged to have been separated from their Muslim families and forcibly converted to Christianity.
Unnamed groups allegedly moved the children from the northern parts of the country to the east where they have also been reportedly been baptized and given new names.
The development is threatening the already-fragile North where a coalition of local pressure groups has hinted at protests over the alleged failure by the government to curb the issue they said had been ongoing for some years.
The Coalition of Northern Groups (CNG) has been vocal on the issue.
“We would be left with no option that to call out the northern public to a mass protest to press for justice for these innocent children and others suffering or likely to suffer similar fates,” said Abdul-Azeez Suleiman, the CNG spokesperson.
He said the group was concerned at the alleged silence by the government and other stakeholders over the reported conversion of the children.
“We are particularly saddened that days after the discovery of this heinous crime, no federal, state or local government, cultural, traditional, or religious group, NGO, or international organisation has spoken on the matter.”
Tensions come at a time the Boko Haram terror group is accused of converting into Islam, scores of children kidnapped during its decade-long reign of terror.
Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country with over 190 million people is nearly equally divided between Christianity and Islam.
The exact ratio is uncertain.
– CAJ News