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Controversy: Girl’s Conversion From Islam To Christianity Tests Freedom Of Religion Law

The Oasis Reporters

January 17, 2018

DSS Operatives Invade Home, Abduct Two

Nabila’s conversion sparks furore in Northern Nigeria’s ethnic and religious faultline.Simput Dafup (right) 


The Nigerian constitutional provision for freedom to hold beliefs and propagate same for citizens at the age of consent has been put under severe strain as the reported conversion from Islam to Christianity of one Miss Nabila Umar Sanda Galadima has become a subject of controversy in Jos, the Plateau State capital.

The 200-level student of Bingham University, Karu, Nasarawa State, was said to have met one Engineer Simput Dafup for the first time in Dubai. Dafup was on his way back to Nigeria from the United Kingdom. The two got talking and exchanged contacts.
Said to have shown interest in Christianity, Nabila made her intention known to Dafup who asked how her father, Galadima Biu, would react.

Nabila, 19, was said to have replied that she was of age and could take decisions of her own. Uncomfortable, Dafup sought the advice of one Evangelist Jerry Datim.

Addressing journalists at the NUJ press centre in Jos on Saturday, Datim said that, sensing the implication of the conversion for the cordial relationship between the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Jamatu Nasril Islam (JNI), he decided a discussion with leaders of Nabila’s religion was necessary.
Datim said he and Dafup met the JNI leadership alongside Nabila, with a view to avoiding a religious crisis. He said but while this was going on, detectives from the Department of State Security Service (DSS) stormed his house, assaulted his wife, daughter and eight-month-old baby, and whisked Nabila away.
“As I address you, we do not know the whereabouts of Engineer Simput Dafup and Daniel Hassan, the taxi driver whose vehicle Miss Nabila boarded from Abuja to Jos.“I want to state for the avoidance of doubt that the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria guarantees the right of anyone to propagate his faith and the right to also practice any religion of one’s choice. Miss Nabila told me she is 19 years old and therefore free to choose a religion for herself.

The girl’s father, a traditional title holder in Biu, Borno State was said to have requested the intervention of members of the State Security Service (SSS) who allegedly arrested the girl’s male friend, Engineer Simput Eagles Dafup in Plateau State.


“I understand that her father has said he has all the connections in this country to deal with me, Engineer Dafup and any other person found to have converted his daughter to Christianity, and that he will ensure we rot in jail.
“I want to state here, without fear of contradiction, that Engineer Dafup, myself or any other person that has established any contact with Nabila, has breached any law of this land.” He challenged the DSS to produce Nabila “and place us side by side, so that they can ask her if she was forcefully converted to Christianity or abducted or brain washed. She is of age. Let her speak for herself on this matter. Let the whole world hear her.”
He said Dafup should be released forthwith. “In the event that his abductors insist on keeping him, wherever he is, I will begin to mobilise any moment after this press conference. They must not only release him immediately, they must ensure that he is in a good state of health. And the DSS must stop the harassment of members of my family or that of the family of Engineer Dafup or any other person allegedly involved in the conversion of Miss Nabila.”

Also narrating her ordeal to journalists at the briefing, the mother of Dafup, a widow, Mrs. Lydia Istifanus, said: “It has become compelling for me to address you in order to intimate you and members of the public that my son, Engineer Simput Eagles Dafup, a quiet gentleman per excellence, was on Monday, January 8, 2018, brutalised, tortured and whisked away from his residence in Jos by men we suspect were from the DSS for allegedly converting one Miss Nabila Umar Sanda from Islam to Christianity.”

Mrs. Dafup said the heavily armed men who arrived in five Hilux vehicles assaulted even passersby.She said: “It has become worrisome for me. As I address you, now, I do not know where my son is.”
The JNI and the complainants were said to have visited the DSS office in Jos where officers kept sealed lips and directed all enquiries to the agency’s Abuja headquarters.

According to the Daily Trust newspaper, Nabila is 18, still of age of consent and she finished from Air Force Comprehensive College, Jos. She’s a 200 Level student of Mass Communication at the Bingham University in Nasarawa State.

her father was said to have reported to the SSS that his daughter was missing following which she was traced to the house of one Pastor Jerry Datim in Jos. However, Datim spoke with the newspaper on phone that Nabila had converted to Christianity while at Bingham University and had met Dafup, a lecturer, in Ghana four years ago on a flight to Dubai. The pastor said Nabila had recently reconnected with Dafup who was visiting Jos for the Christmas break and expressed her intentions to fully convert to Christianity.
Pastor Jerry further explained that though Nabila’s father was aware of her intention to convert, he had said it was unacceptable by him. “After they assaulted my family, I took the matter to the Plateau State Administrative Secretary of JNI, Sheikh Abdulazeez Yusuf who was unhappy with the development and arranged a meeting with the SSS. Even at the SSS office, when they asked why I didn’t take the girl to the police station, it was the JNI that answered by telling them that we have been working together to resolve such issues without involving security.” Dafup’s mother, Lydia Istifanus Dafup yesterday in a press conference said her son had been tortured before taken away and pleaded for his release.



Greg Abolo

Blogger at The Oasis Reporters.

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