By Nathan Johnson
05/25/2018 Washington D.C. (International Christian Concern) – “My name is Florence Hosea, 15 years of age. I am [the oldest of six siblings]. On the 23rd day of March, 2018, an unimaginable thing happened to me when I went in search of firewood in interior bush of Sale hamlet of Kadunu at about 4:12 p.m. While I was busy gathering the firewood, I heard crunching footsteps behind me. In fear, I turned, but was shocked to see a Muslim youth I knew by name, Ibrahim Haruna, steadily advancing towards me. When I asked him what brought him into the bush, he responded that today, I would not return to my parent’s home!”
Throughout many areas of Nigeria, women hold less legal standing than men. This is even more evident when the women are Christian. Along with the other types of violence in Nigeria, forced conversion and forced marriage are still prevalent. Young women are often kidnapped and forced into marriage with Muslim men, forcing them to convert to Islam as well.
“After he finished raping me, I was dragged through the bush into one Muslim’s community called Ramani Russia of Kadunu, where the rapist took me to the house of Nuhu and held me. He said that if I tried to fight, either he or his friends would kill me. He further threatened to trail and kill me or my family members if I made his crimes public,” she continued. “To my further dismay, I was kept under watch by Nuhu’s wife, who ought to have heard my several pleas as a woman and let me go. In spite of my repeated pleas, [she continued to hold me against my will.] I had no option but to spend the night with her until the following morning.”
After the long night, Florence was confronted by her rapist again the next morning. “Then Ibrahim, my rapist, with another youth came to ensure I was still being held… They brought food to me but I [did not eat it for fear] of either being poisoned or [drugged]… After several minutes, Ibrahim and his friend came back and asked me why I refused to eat the food. I replied that I was ok. He became angry and forced me to put on an Islamic veil… Out of fear, I quietly accepted and wore it after little protest.”
Sadly, this type of attack is common among groups such as Boko Haram. They use intimidation, force, and indoctrination to convert young people, particularly women, to radical Islam. The veil and the threats against her family were part of an attempt to pressure Florence to renounce her faith and convert to Islam.
It was not until later that day that she was rescued by police. “While we were still in the same room, a police officer in company of another person barged in and took me to [the] police outpost of Kadunu,” continued Florence.
Despite her testimony and the police finding her in the house, there have been no arrests. She has been trying to fight this with the help of her family, church, and International Christian Concern. If her case is unable to move forward at the local level, it is very unlikely that there will be any justice for Florence.
For interviews with Nathan Johnson, Regional Manager, please contact Olivia Miller, Communications Coordinator: [email protected]