Miss Charity Uzoechina, who still lives in the palace of Etsu Nupe, Alhaji Yahaya Abubakar, after converting to Islam, has finally broken her silence. She called on Nigerians to leave her alone to practice the religion of her choice.
In a telephone conversation with Vanguard yesterday, Charity insisted that nobody forced her into the religion and that she should be left alone.
She said: “I did it on my own. Nobody forced or enticed me to become a Muslim. I converted to Islam on my own. Am I the first to convert to Islam in Nigeria? So what is it?”
Her father, Pastor Raymond Uzoechina, had earlier said that Charity was abducted and hypnotised to say and do what she was doing. He challenged the Nupe to produce Charity in court for cross-examination by his lawyer.
However, Charity said: “I know people are influencing my father and I am praying for him and other members of my family to know that this is the right religion.”On whether or not she would go home with her father if eventually the rift was settled, Charity, who has changed her name to Aisha, insisted that she was not interested in going back home with her father.
She said: “I am not going back to my father because of his actions in recent times. He has been threatening me and at my age (25), I am free to practice any religion of my choice and so, I should be left to decide.
“If I want to sue him to court, I can at this my age because it is my right to practice any religion I want.”
Niger CAN intervenes
Meanwhile, Niger State chapter of Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, has waded into matter and hoped that the issue would be resolved out of court before the August 1 date for ruling on the appeal filed by Pastor Uzoechina on the earlier ruling of the Sharia, granting the palace custody of Charity.
Niger State CAN Chairman, Rev. Musa Dada, told Vanguard that CAN had visited the Etsu Nupe’s palace along with other CAN officials from Abuja officially on the matter and that plans were on to settle the case out of court.
Rev. Dada, who was reluctant to discuss the issue in details, simply said: “We have met with the Etsu Nupe and other stake holders involved at the Etsu’s palace and we have made progress.
“I can assure you that probably before the August 1 (Thursday) date, when the case is expected to come up at the Sharia Court, Bida, something positive is likely to come out which will put an end to the rift.”
Culled from the Vanguard newspaper