NIGERIA – Professor in Prison for Running Christian Orphanage in Sharia Run State of Nigeria

International Christian Concern | March 25, 2020

Prof. Solomon Tarfa and his wife Mercy, founded an orphanage called Du Merci in 1996 in Kano State, Nigeria. The home has helped scores of children since it opened more than two decades ago. According to Christian Solidarity Worldwide (CSW), despite having all of the legal paperwork to operate the orphanage, it was closed down on Christmas Day last year. After closing the orphanage without any cause, the state government then moved all 27 of the children who were currently residing there to state run homes. Prof. Tarfa has been in prison ever since they closed the orphanage last December, and has only been granted bail if he is able to a large sum of money. So far he has not been able to pay.

Six of these children who were taken to a state run home in Nasarawa, were able to escape recently and attend a church service for the first time in months. The six children tried to leave the home on Sunday, March 15, to attend a church service in the local town. They were told by a security guard at the home that they were not allowed to leave. Later that day, a pastor in Sabon Gari, a predominately Christian area, called Mercy Tarfa and informed her that he had the children with him at his church. Mercy retrieved the children and returned them to the state run home with her lawyer.

According to international law, freedom of religion must be guaranteed to all people. This means that the state run orphanage must allow these children, who clearly wish to attend church, to worship the religion that they believe. If the home thinks that it is not safe for the children to go by themselves, they must provide a chaperon, or allow for a pastor to come to the home and teach the children there. Stopping the children from leaving the home and forcing them to learn Islam is against all international laws and is supposedly against Nigeria’s own constitution, which claims to be secular. Depsite this claim to be secular, the Nigerian government allows 9 states to enforce Sharia Law for everyone, and 3 states to enforce Sharia Law on predominately Muslim areas. This should not be. Pray that these children are able to learn about Christ and stay strong in their faith. Also pray that Prof Tarfa is freed from his illegal captivity soon.

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