Home News FCS President cries out…How Christians go through pain in the North…says Christian girls forcefully married to Muslims,

FCS President cries out…How Christians go through pain in the North…says Christian girls forcefully married to Muslims,

by Church Times

By our reporter

The National Director of Fellowship of Christian Students, Gideon Chimmin has said the agony of believers in the North of Nigeria are better experienced than explained noting that the pain and persecution they are going through are not adequately captured by the media.

Chimmin who spoke with our correspondent at a missions’ programme in Offa, Kwara State said many of the cases that are reported in the media are only cases that have gone out of hand stating that many believers are being silently killed in many villages of the North unknown to the authorities while many young Christian girls are being forcefully married and converted to Islam

“In the north there is a crisis killing. There is the sporadic one which they do from time to time. Then there is the silent one. They do target killings. They look for relations of people they want to deal with and execute judgment on them. We just find out that people are being killed under the guise of armed robbery. But in the real sense there are no robbery. When they are doing the silent killings they don’t shout Allahu Akbar.”

He said the reported cases of herdsmen/farmers clash is not done in good faith because according to him many of the killings that are the fallout of the purported clashes are not clashes but attacks on the farmers. “You say something is a clash if there are two warring factions. But in the case of the Fulani killings it’s not clash but attack on innocent people on their farms. And they then give the impression it is herdsmen versus farmers. The catholic priests that were killed for instance have nothing to do with farms. They go to seminaries and farms to attack and they set up apologists that would defend them.”

He debunked insinuations that the killings and supposed clashes in the North are as a result of youth unemployment. “It’s not logical to say the bandits are unemployed youths. It is a deliberate ethnic cleansing agenda. How can unemployed person have access to AK47? Such weapons are not sold for peanuts they go for thousands of naira. The carnage in Plateau is particularly pathetic. The land where people were dislocated from as a result of the crisis were allocated to other folks just about two weeks after the crisis in that state. Whenever there is crisis the security men don’t go to the scene immediately. So they don’t really get the true picture of what had transpired. The president or any top government official is not even allowed to see the carnage. When government officials come the scene of the violence would have been wiped off.”

He said each time there is crisis in the north, many of the displaced people can’t even go back to their homes because there is nothing to go back to. It is so pathetic that when people were going for burial ceremony they were killed. The sad thing is that there were armed policemen around the scene who just watched instead of stepping in to tame the crisis.”

The FCS director observed that the history of insurgence has been on for 17 years in the north “and within this 17 years there has not been one single conviction. In the case where we have major convictions the judgements are not anything to write home about.”

According to him the FCS has been at the receiving end of the killings in the North. “We have lost many of our members. Many of the people who go to school in the North are Christians. There have been cases of hostels being burnt down with students in them. There have been violent attacks on schools and there are cases of victimizations. Many of the students who are Christians don’t benefit from scholarship, admission to higher institutions and many other things that are their rights.”

While noting that religious meeting in government owned schools is statutory he said, many schools don’t have chapel whereas there are mosques in many schools. “Most schools in Gombe were renovated and they built mosques in many of the schools but they don’t allow chapels. The contracts to build those schools were given to Muslims. So the contractors build mosques in those school as a compensation for the contracts.

On the issue of forced marriage he said, “It is something that happens every time. It is only when it happens to a known name that the public gets to know or when it happens in a dramatic way. But it is not one of those rare things. It is a norm in the North. It is considered a religious duty. They carry Christians and force them to marry Muslims. When the girls are forcefully married the parents of the girls can’t even do anything. The imam, the police and the court all support the action. There is nobody to report to. We live with it every day. It is a norm.”

He explained further that some of the girls who come from southern part of Nigeria don’t understand. “When you warn them not to get too close to Muslims they think you hate Muslims. So they befriend them. They relate with them easily. Sometimes when they go on a visit, they are locked up and forcefully given in marriage.  There are times some go on a quiet visit and they are locked up.”

He cited the example of the daughter of Dr. Chris Abashia. “Dr. Abashia was a registrar of a university when this thing happened to his daughter. And that was why it was in the media and there was noise about it. But nothing happened despite the noise. Till today many of our young people are still naïve.”

While stating that he harbours no iota of hatred for Muslims he said, “We love Muslims and we pray every day for them. We know there will be killings and that our people are being killed indiscriminately but we don’t know when the next attack will be or who will be the next victim.  But we don’t hate our attackers. If they have a need and I have ability I will assist. We are not taught vengeance. If I kill unbelievers how will they make heaven. I would rather that my family die than for the Muslim to die. I can’t kill. Jesus has not taught me to carry knife and kill people. The purpose of faith is to make us submissive to God. We can’t improve on what he wants. The unbeliever should be pitied most because they end up in eternal doom when they die. So we should not wish they die because God does not love the death of a sinner.”

Describing the FCS as the foundation for many believers in Nigeria he said, “In FCS we don’t preach denomination but Christ. We preach acceptance, love and tolerance. We have been able to train many people for leadership. Many leaders have come out of FCS. It was FCS that places emphasis on Christian literatures and it has really helped. We produce devotional to help. We have specialized small group meetings and we have branches in almost all schools.”

Chimmin however noted that the 61 year old body occasionally faces some resistance from some churches who feel threatened that their members may be indoctrinated negatively. “But later some of them allow us. Many churches have foundational members among us. We use church premises for our programmes. On a general basis the problem is not as big as we think. We all have our foundation in the Bible.”

He reasoned that God’s word though it is accurately translated, “We must interpret it with honesty. On divisive matters we don’t take a stand. But when it has to do with the principles of faith we teach God’s word”

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