Christian Social Movement of Nigeria (CSMN), under its Voice Of The Persecuted program held another “conversation of the conscience” on the unwarranted and illegal incarceration of Prof. Solomon Tarfa.
The Christian leader was locked up for no other crime but for operating a Christian orphanage in Kano State. Prof. Tarfa, and 17 children from the orphanage have been unjustly incarcerated for 11 months and two weeks as of the time the program was taking place. Main speakers during the program were:
- Mrs. Mercy Tarfa
- Barrister Olasupo Ojo, President, Center for Rule of Law
- Barrister Gregory Lar, Directorate of Legal Intervention, CSMN
After deliberations, the “conversation of conscience” resolved as follows:
- That the Legal Team that has been working to secure the release of Prof. Tarfa should be appreciated and commended. In the absence of dedicated Christian funds to defend the rights of persecuted Christians, the Legal Team had to work pro bono while good spirited Christians, CSMN inclusive, made contributions.
- That the unwarranted arrest of Prof. Tarfa and 17 children of Du Merci Orphanage on Christmas Day, 25th December 2019 in Kano is gross violation of their fundamental human rights.
- That the first false charge of running illegal orphanage, which was debunked with genuine registration documents, and the second false charge of child trafficking, are confirmation of preconceived acts of religious intolerance. The meeting wondered how a duly registered orphanage could be guilty of child trafficking.
- That the constant pressure piled on the children at Nasarawa Home, where they are unjustly incarcerated, to convert to Islam confirm that the actions of Kano State Government is nothing but religious persecution and religious intolerance in violation of Section 38(1) of the Constitution.
- That under the law, no individual should be detained for more than 48 hours while trial should commence within 30 days. The incarceration of Prof. Solomon Tarfa and the children for over 11 months is abuse of their right and threat to their lives.
- That stiff and difficult to meet conditions for bail is tantamount to denial of bail. This is violation of fundamental human rights.
- That the illegal treatment meted to Prof. Tarfa portends danger for all non-Muslims in Nigeria and Christians in particular. If a highly placed individual like a Professor could be locked up for no other reason than his Christian faith, then, no Christian in Nigeria should consider himself/herself safe.
- That Prof. Tarfa, the children, and Du Merci should as a matter of urgency claim compensation from the Kano State Government for the violation of their rights as citizens of Nigeria.
- That imbalance in religious liberty in Nigeria must be redressed. While Muslims have the liberty to worship and express their faith all over the country, Christians are denied such rights in the northern parts of the country.
- That Christians must set up structures to defend their rights and protect themselves. The meeting condemned the lethargy of the Christian community for keeping quiet for 11 months while children were locked up because they refused to renounce their Christian faith.
- That Christians must accept responsibility for what have gone wrong with the country and genuinely repent so that a time of refreshing can come upon Nigeria.
- That funding is required to establish credible and effective structures to defend human rights of Christians in Nigeria in view of the escalation of abuse of such rights. The meeting reiterated the need for all Christians to contribute to the Lay Faithful Trust Fund so that a central Christian purse can be established for such purpose.
Executive Secretary Christian Social Movement of Nigeria
December 1, 2020