Christian Women Targeted in Nigeria's Sokoto State

Friday, February 16, 2001

by Obed Minchakpu

SOKOTO, Nigeria (Compass) -- Muslim extremists have been deliberately targeting Christian women for rape in northern Nigeria's Sokoto state since the introduction of the Islamic legal code, or "sharia," Christian leaders there say.

"There is intimidation of Christians and pastors within Sokoto metropolis in different ways, such as ejection from houses with little or no notice, harassment and increased cases of rape, especially on Christian ladies," Pastor Momo James said.

Pastor Elisha Nmeribe added that the Sokoto State Urban and Regional Planning Agency in Sokoto has been vandalizing church property. Church buildings have been demolished by government agents in Mabera, Mujaya, and an area known as the old airport. The threat of more church demolitions has brought fear to the Christian community in these areas.

The Sokoto state government adopted and began the implementation of the Islamic legal code in May 2000, disregarding protests by Christians that the system would lead to discrimination.

Copyright © 2001 Compass Direct News Service. Used with permission.