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Tuesday, 22 November 2016

How religious, ethnic bigotry affect Akinyemi Samson, Binta Faruk, others

How religious, ethnic bigotry affect Akinyemi Samson, Binta Faruk, others

A lot of Nigerians have suffered untold hardship as a result of religious, ethnic, cultural and even traditional differences for which the hapless ones either get killed, maimed, jailed or sometimes sent on exile.

  Some of the lucky ones manage to escape to other lands, and some even outside the shores of the country.
  Anale Emmanuel Shoaga and her then husband to be, Samson Akinyemi, fall in the later category. They were victims of molestation and harassment perpetrated by some Muslim fundamentalists in Ikotun, a suburb of Lagos led by one Alhaji Arowoshafe, a purported stepfather to Shoaga.

  On November 2, 2013, seven days after their wedding introduction to start a beautiful life on October 26, 2013 Shoaga’s stepfather, Arowoshafe stopped at nothing to tormenting his stepdaughter and her fiancĂ©, Akinyemi to the extreme.

  Arowoshafe had on several occasions attempted to rape Shoaga Anale Emmanuel but failed and no one would have thought that her wedding introduction did not go down well with him.

  He had, therefore, planned to forcefully marry out Anale Emmanuel to his old friend. Seven days after the introduction, Arowoshafe subtly invited Shoaga who had started living with Akinyemi for a courtesy visit with a view for an opportunity to see her mother who is visually impaired. 

  Unknown to her, the stepfather had set up his plans to abduct Anale.  To cut the very long story short, after being hypothesised, she found herself half naked, molested, injured and raped when she regained consciousness.  

  Thereafter, even after regaining consciousness, she was at the mercy of her abductors and Arowoshafe’s business partner, who she met a few months earlier and who turned her into a sex-slave raping her at will morning, afternoon, evening and midnight.

  He also intimidated her to stupor but four days later, she became more conscious and bold enough to escape. After her escape, she came in contact with a woman who helped her to get across to  Akinyemi through telephone.

   Akinyemi, who immediately came for Anale took her into hiding at Ayobo Aiyetoro where they lived in perpetual fear and imminent danger.

  Thereafter, another woman who heard about their ordeal contacted another good Nigerian, who promised helping them to travel to Libya and from where they promised to brave it to safety. All these happened after their wedding introduction on October 26, 2013

  This story was told by one of the women who helped Shoaga after her escape from her abductors. The story of Anale and Akinyemi who were forced to flee the country for fear of persecution, and published in December 2013, is still fresh.

  “We urge the Federal Government of Nigeria and the United Nations to take decisive steps to put an end to the menace and ugly situation before it gets worse and consume the nation,” the woman, who identified herself as Beatrice Suleiman, told The Guardian.

  Besides the Akinyemis, the story of Binta Faruk, who converted from Islam to Christianity, betrays the insular attitude towards inter-religious converts and which has become a matter of concern that needs urgent attention, especially by the Nigerian Government and the United Nations.

  The plight of Faruk who now runs Tabitha Evangelistic Ministry-a home for the persecuted and other victimised persons situated at Miango in Jos Plateau State of Nigeria, is another true life story.

   On September 5, 2000 her father accused her of a crime she never committed for which she was thrown into prison without trial or bail, but was released on the strength of a petition by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) to the Nigerian Government. Her brother also went through similar ordeal that he had to abandon his career as a lecturer and flee to safety.

  The same applies to Salamatu Ibrahim, whose convert name is Paul Abraham who also went through similar draconian treatment from his Muslim fundamentalists and assailants and according to Abraham, “I lost everything except Jesus.”

   Sadly, there are several cases of persecutions going on unnoticed like the case of Salamatu, now Pastor Paul Abraham, who have gone into hiding for fear of persecution and even death, not only to cultural and traditional folly, but also to ethnic and religious bigotry. 

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