Vision Logo Circle
Vision Logo Circle

Nigeria Refuses To Free Christian Orphans

by | Sat, Mar 2 2024

Text size: A- A+

A group of Christian orphans in northern Nigeria is still being kept in government custody after a legal battle that’s lasted nearly five years. They were taken from the Du Merci Orphanage in 2019 amid allegations that its director Professor Solomon Tarfa had kidnapped them.

The orphans were moved to a government-run facility where they were forced to use Muslim names, study Arabic and Islam, and attend prayers in a mosque. Professor Tarfa was detained and imprisoned on alleged charges of kidnapping and abduction for which he was acquitted in 2021. He was later cleared of trumped up forgery charges as well.

During his trial, the professor’s niece testified that many of the children who were brought to Du Merci came through Solomon Tarfa’s friend, a doctor who was asked to perform abortions. The doctor referred the mothers to Du Merci which offered to look after the babies and allow the mothers to reclaim custody of the children later if they chose to do so. The judge said that evidence proved Professor Tarfa was a hero rather than a person worthy of punishment.

Now, the former orphanage director wants the Nigerian government to be held accountable. He has asked Kano State to pay reparations for his illegal imprisonment, false accusations, and the illegal confiscation of the orphanage’s children. The reparations would help cover the costs of rebuilding Du Merci which was demolished by the government.

Professor Tarfa is also seeking compensation after he and his wife were forced to relocate to an apartment with some of the children released back into his custody. He continues to demand the release of the 16 children who remain in government custody. Persecution watchdog International Christian Concern (ICC) has documentation that these children continue to face mental and physical abuse.

The government refuses to pay Professor Tarfa for its wrongdoings, escalating the situation before the High Court in Kano State, but the judge has refused to order a trial, calling on both parties to settle the case before June.

ICC staff in Nigeria and around the world continue to pray for the children wrongly held by the Nigerian government as well as due payments to Professor Tarfa.