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ECWA Denies Forceful Conversion of Persons, Almajiris to Christianity

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By Jide Afolabi

The Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, has denied false accusations of forcefully converting persons especially, Almajiri’s into Christianity.

According to the ECWA President, Rev. (Dr) Stephen Baba Panya, the Church trains the less privileged in the society for capacity building, skill acquisition, Christian Ethics, and leadership skills with the sole purpose of making them relevant to the society.

In the statement made available to newsmen in Jos on Thursday, Panya said that the trainees are in their facility for the training in their own volition without any force.

He added that the enrollees are required to pay prescribed fees to cover their feeding and training fees stressing that they are registered and mandated to provide details of their sponsors.

He said that the Church equips the trainees, upon completion of their one-year training, with tools that will help them in establishing themselves and be productive in society saying that all trainees are adults.

He added that the false allegation that ECWA was forcefully converting Muslims, and Almajiri into Christianity is not only false and misleading but a deliberate effort to discredit the church and cause a religious crisis.

The statement reads:

“The attention of the leadership of the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA),
has been drawn to some distorted media report that the Department of State Security, (DSS) agents raided one of our facilities in Jos where 21 Muslims/almajiris are held hostage and being forcefully converted to Christianity. These reports are not only false and misleading but a deliberate effort to discredit the church and cause a religious crisis.

“Among numerous ECWA Units is the ECWA Discipleship Unit established under the ECWA Church-Related Ministries Department of the ECWA Headquarters.

“The Unit, among other activities, trains the less privileged in the society for capacity building, skill acquisition, Christian Ethics, and leadership skills with the sole purpose of making them relevant to the society. Equips the trainees, upon completion of their one-year training, with tools that will help them in establishing themselves. For lack of space at the ECWA Headquarters, the office acquired a private property within Tudun Wada residential area in Jos as a temporary site for the training and housing of all trainees.

“The trainees at the property, before being enrolled, are expected to provide the name of their sponsors and pay a mandatory sum of N75,000.00 to cover feeding and training fees. As a practice, the Unit maintains a file for each student containing his or her data. Trainees at the facility, as a matter of policy, are all adults with none falling below the age of Eighteen (18). Trainees are free to withdraw from the training once they are dissatisfied with either the policies or the condition of the facility. Management also has the right to withdraw a trainee on grounds of infringement of the rules and regulations of the facility.

“The Unit from its inception has graduated over Eighty-six (86) trainees spread across different parts of Nigeria with various skills. Before June 14, 2022, the property accommodated twenty-four (24) trainees with a list of pending applicants waiting for space for enrolment.

“The ECWA Church-Related Ministries Department was shocked over the false allegations said to have emanated from the “escapee” Abdulrahman Hussaini that the trainees at the property are citizens that were forcefully brought to it to forcefully convert them to Christianity. These allegations are complete falsehood because the trainees being persons of age, are available at any time for Government Officials to interact with, to hear their respective stories, just as was done by the Department of State Services (DSS) recently. Following a report by the JNI in Jos as we later understood, the DSS visited our facility and accordingly interviewed the occupants who freely disclosed to the security agents that they enrolled in the program of their own volition and were not forced, except Abdulrahman Hussaini’s brother who opted to leave with his brother Abdulrahaman and was released to the DSS without any excitation. What is clear in this drama, is that the Hussaini brothers were planted as moles to discredit the good works of the church unit where thousands of trainees have benefited and are now living as responsible members of the society.

“What is more, Trainees are given a two-week break six months after their stay in the facility to get back and prepare for the final lap of their training. It is of the moment to note that the Hussani brothers have gone on this break and returned of their own volition

“ECWA, as an organization, has a widespread nationally and internationally and believes in the Rule of Law and will not involve itself in the infringement of the Fundamental Rights of any Nigerian to his freedom of religion, movement, or association.”

The ECWA leader stated that any other insinuations and/or accusations such as have been made viral on the media space are fabricated lies to dent the good works of ECWA over the past 129 years of its existence.

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