Nigeria: Christian orphanage director finally acquitted of abduction/forgery charges
by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – The Christian founder of an orphanage in Nigeria’s Kano state has finally been acquitted of abduction and forgery after spending two years in jail pending trial, International Christian Concern (ICC) reports.
Professor Solomon Tarfa and his wife Mercy founded Du Merci orphanage in 1996 in Kano state, a region governed by Sharia law. ICC reports. The couple worked to rescue abandoned children for more than 20 years, aiming “to glorify God by ministering to orphans and vulnerable children by meeting their mental, physical, spiritual and social needs.”
There were 27 children living at the orphanage when police conducted a raid on Christmas Day 2019 and arrested Professor Tarfa, ICC said. Professor Tarfa was charged with abducting children from their legal guardians, holding them in an unregistered orphanage, and forging a certificate of registration for the orphanage. He was detained pending trial without bail. The children were removed from the couple’s care and placed in government facilities.
While Professor Tarfa was eventually acquitted of the abduction charges in June of 2021 and finally released from prison on bail, he still had forgery charges pending. He was only finally acquitted of all charges on January 27 this year.
In its report, ICC said the professor’s case was handled in an “unjust manner,” which highlighted “the discrimination and persecution” Christians suffer within Nigeria’s legal system. “When religion takes over the government, as it has in much of Nigeria’s north, it creates a social and judicial hierarchy along religious lines,” ICC added. “Moreover, it makes religious minorities, in this case, Christians, suffer due to their lack of conformity.”
Although Nigeria is officially a secular country, parts of it are governed by Islamic Sharia law: Nigeria ranks 6th on the Open Doors World Watch List 2023 of the top 50 countries where Christians are persecuted.
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