The General Secretary of the Christian Association of Nigeria, Rev. Musa Asake, in this interview, criticizes the forceful marriage and sexual violation of 14-year-old Ese Oruru... read excerpt;
What is your reaction to the abduction and forceful marriage of Ese Oruru to a Muslim from Kano?
It is an unfortunate situation. This has been going on in the North. In fact, our Christian girls are abducted but nothing is done about it. It is so sad that while we are praying to live in peace, another side is not showing a sign of peace.
I don’t know where it is in the religion that teaches that they can take someone’s daughter, convert her from Christianity to Islam and marry her (off). If that is religion, then it is very unfortunate. I also want to make it very clear: If it were Christians doing this to Muslim girls, Nigerians would have been burnt to ashes. So, to me, it is a total disrespect and a complete disobedience of the law of the land and the law of God. To me, it is stealing; I don’t know why you are calling it abduction. It is stealing and the government should wake up and do something. There is nobody who has the right to take somebody’s daughter and even have the right to give her (away) in marriage. We had a similar experience in Minna (Niger State) and the matter was reported even up to the Presidency. The governor refused to cooperate. They took that girl, changed her name and married her (off). It is not good. That is what some of these Muslims are doing to us. The media should investigate and bring these ones out and the government should come out with a law. This one (Ese) is so fortunate. The one I am talking about is a pastor’s daughter. They married her off and up till today, the government is doing nothing. We met with the deputy governor; his words were arrogant. We are running out of patience. If we want to live in peace in Nigeria, then some of these Muslims have to behave. I don’t see why those practicing a religion will be stealing people’s children and they are doing it with impunity. It is unfortunate.
Why do you think the state governments are not responsive?
I will give you an example of the one in Minna, which I was involved in. We reported the case. Even the Presidency told the governor that the girl should be released. The day we went, the governor left town. How can you take a Christian girl to your Islamic court and say she can marry whoever she wants? Are they the parents? The government is not — I repeat, is not — against the whole thing. That is why when it happens, just because Christians are saying ‘we want peace,’ they will provoke us. I think we have had enough of that kind of one-sided peace. Enough of it! Christians have been taken for granted and it will soon come to an end. We cannot continue to have this kind of nonsense. Someone takes somebody’s daughter and marries her. Can somebody else take their daughter to go and marry? If they have many children and they are not accountable or responsible for them, in the Christian community, we are not like that. If you have your child, you need to know where your child is, what he is doing and who he is doing it with. Yes, we do have some stubborn ones, but you cannot steal my daughter and go and marry her. Who are you?