… as citizen initiative calls for thorough investigation
Parents of missing children in Kano state have called on the federal and state governments to ensure release of 47 additional children whom they claimed are still under the custody of a criminal Igbo syndicate specialised in abducting and converting young Muslim children to Christianity.
Chronicle gathered that the syndicate specilialised in abducting young Muslims from Kano to Southern part of the country; rename, convert them to Christianity and sell them to others for slavery.
The affected parents under the umbrella of the Protection Against the Abduction/Missing of Our Children, demanded for thorough investigation into the matter.
Secretary of the group, Malam Shuaibu Ibahim said the affected families and their relations were undergoing extreme trauma courtesy of the abduction of their loved ones by the criminals.
Ibrahim said, “We are happy that the police have made a break through by arresting some members of the syndicate. The police should interrogate the suspects thoroughly in order to un-ravel their accomplices so that other children that are still missing can be rescued and reunited with their parents.”
The parents also released the list of the 47 missing children as well as photos of 23 of the children who were kidnapped from neighborhoods such as Walalambe, Walawai, Hotoro, Kawo and Tinshama, all in Nassarawa local government as well as Rimin Kebe and Dakata in Ungogo local government areas of Kano state.
It would be recalled that Kano Police Command had rescued nine missing children and paraded six Igbo persons for abducting and selling the children in Onitsha, Anambra state.
In a related development, the Kano Concerned Citizen Initiative (KCCI) has condemned, in a strong term, the abduction of nine Kano kids, just as it urged the police and other security agencies to investigate the matter thoroughly.
The KCCI in a statement signed by its Chairman, Alhaji Bashir Othman Tofa, lamented that it was widely reported that the names of the affected children were changed and converted to Christianity, describing the development as dangerous and frightening.
“Whatever was the purpose of these abductions it is still frightening because of the news-paper reports of the horrendous experiences the children underwent. This is a specialized organized crime that manipulates religion to exploit the innocent children,” the statement indicated.
The Initiative noted that the case of these abducted children is a special case, unlike other crimes, it has some ideological undertones, saying “other criminal kidnappers demand ransom while in this special case the children were abducted for certain purposes, of which the police investigation is still being awaited.
“We therefore call on all umbrella religious associations of Christians and Muslims to condemn this evil action and take the necessary steps towards addressing it. If we recall when one Ese Oruru of Bayelsa State, was claimed to have been taken by her lover who converted her to Islam, Muslim leaders condemned the act and took the appropriate steps since the girl was under-aged. The press also made several stories headlines and commentaries.
“We expect nothing less from them on this issue of abduction of nine children who were abused in the name of converting them to human sacrifice for rituals or use in baby factories, which have become rampant crime of such kind of abductors. It is in this light that we call on the Nigerian Police not to relent in their efforts of unearthing the true motives of these criminals.
The KCCI also urged police and other security agencies to do their utmost best to investigate if there is any more of these captive children and adults from other states enslaved anywhere in the country, not only in Anambra State.
It further urged Kano State government to liaise with Anambra state to find out the nature of these abductions and better ways of cooperating to end these criminal activities for the overall peaceful coexistence of Nigerians.
“This becomes imperative, if we recall what a former Governor of Anambra State did to some innocent Northerners living in his state until a former Governor of Kano State visited him to resolve the issue,” the statement indicated.
The KCCI also called on the press to continue to expose these criminals for what they are, noting that the press had important role to play and it must eschew partisanship and sectionalism.
It emphasized that “There is need for wide coverage of this crime to inform and enlighten the public on the atrocities of these criminals who want to hide under religious and ethnic garb to perpetrate their evil actions.”
It assured that the criminals who abducted these children for diabolical reasons would face the wrath of the law, noting that “even though they are from a particular part of the country they don’t represent their ethnic group; therefore no one should profile that ethnic group in this regard. They are responsible for their actions before the law and they should face it irrespective of where they come from.”
The initiative commended the Nigeria Police for this patriotic action and the way and manner it handled the matter, appealing to the law-abiding citizens of Kano state to remain calm and report any suspicious activities to the police.