News by emailDonate

Suggestions

Top Stories

Most Read

Popular Videos

Christian peer raises concern over closure of Nigerian orphanage - Banner image
Christian peer raises concern over closure of Nigerian orphanage - Mobile banner image
World News

Christian peer raises concern over closure of Nigerian orphanage

by Tola Mbakwe

Christian peer Lord Alton of Liverpool has written to the BBC challenging a report that an orphanage for abandoned children which was forcibly closed by state authorities in Nigeria was functioning illegally.

He has also highlighted the case in a letter to the Nigerian High Commissioner to the United Kingdom (UK).

According to religious freedom charity Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW),  Prof Richard Solomon Musa Tarfa, the co-founder of the Du Merci Centre in the Kano state capital, was detained by authorities on Christmas. 

A report by BBC Pidgin reporter Mansur Abubakar, published on the BBC News website on 9th January, stated that police in “northern Nigeria” had “rescued 27 children from two illegal orphanages operating in Kano and Kaduna states”, quoting police spokesman Abdullahi Haruna.

CSW said credible local reports show that while Prof Tarfa was initially held for not having a licence to operate an orphanage, the charges were later changed to ‘criminal abduction of minors’ after his wife produced the required documentation proving registration. He has denied both charges.

On 3rd January, the professor’s bail terms were set at N5 million (£10,562) and included the provision that one of his sureties must be employed as an undersecretary in a federal ministry.

So far he has been unable to meet these demands and remains detained. Prof Tarfa’s wife, with whom he co-founded the orphanage, was also briefly detained and released on the same day.  However, 19 children residing in the orphanage in Kano were transported to the Nasarawa Children’s Home.

Eight children who were seized in a following raid on the Du Merci branch in Kaduna state on 31st December were also transported to the same location.

This is not the first time the professor has been arrested in an attempt to close down the orphanage. He was initially detained in 2002 following a similar raid on the orphanage.

In the letter to the BBC, Lord Alton writes: “In 2002, and following the intervention of the late Emir of Kano and a legal challenge in the wake of a similar raid, a High Court ruled that the Du Merci Centre was duly registered and was conducting a legitimate endeavour. It also ordered the return of the children who had been seized. A copy of this ruling is also available easily.”

Lord Alton has also written to the Nigerian High Commission in the UK, following up on earlier letters sent to the Police Commissioner and Attorney General of Kano state, which are yet to receive a response.

CSW’s chief executive Mervyn Thomas has welcomed Lord Alton’s intervention.

“The orphanage is duly registered and keeps records on how each child came to be there, documentation that could have easily be verified by a thorough investigation,” he said.

“The court ruling of 2002 verifying the legality of the orphanage could also have been accessed prior to the unchallenged publication of a false narrative. The excessive charges against Prof Tarfa are completely unfounded and we urge the Kano state authorities to facilitate his release without pre-condition.

“In the current era of fake news the need for careful research and factual reporting that challenges disinformation is more important than ever.”

CSW said Prof Tarfa and his wife opened the Du Merci Centre in 1996 to care for abandoned children in the Christian District of Sabon Gari.

The centre provides accommodation for these children, who view them as parents and are educated and cared for until they are able to live successful independent lives.

It also accommodates young women who are pregnant out of wedlock, until they give birth, reconciling them whenever possible with parents who had rejected them due to social stigma.

 

We pray Lord that You will right all the wrongs that are taking place in our world and vindicate those that are being treated unjustly.

Keep us Father from trying to take matters into our own hands for vengeance is yours and you will repay.

But Lord in your grace and mercy we pray that you would give justice and peace to all those that have been cruelly and unfairly treated by their fellow man and may injustice and carelessness that they have had to endure be the means to draw them into your saving arms of grace - we ask this in the precious name of the Lord, Jesus.

- Author Unknown (Jesuitresource.org)

29

people are praying for this news article

Continue the conversation on our Facebook page

A Monthly Gift Of £5 Makes A World Of Difference

In a world of fake news there’s never been a greater need for quality Christian journalism. Premier’s mission is to provide the Church with the most up to date and relevant news, told from a Christian perspective. But we can’t do it without you.

Unlike many websites we haven't put up a paywall — we want to keep our journalism free at the point of need and as open as we can. Premier’s news output takes a lot of time, money and hard work to produce. No one in the UK is sharing news like we are across radio, magazines and online so please help us to continue that today.

For a monthly gift of £5 or more we’d also be able to send you a free copy of the brand new Premier Bible, a wonderful Anglicised version of the NLT packed with exclusive bonus content, reading plan and resources to help you get the most out of scripture.

Your monthly support will make a world of difference. Thank you.

Set up a monthly gift

Related Articles

Sign up to our newsletter to stay informed with news from a Christian perspective.

Connect

Donate

Donate