* Parents fault his claims

By Favour Nnabugwu

The emergence of radical evangelism in Christianity and Islam, aimed at sustaining the membership or winning new recruits, has generated some problems within and between religions.

In places where Christians and Muslim religious revivalism is in geographic proximity, the results can be explosive.

The onerous and cardinal duty of Muslim clerics and Christian ministers is to re-mould the character of people.

Instead, some Muslim clerics are busy radicalizing their followers to become suicide bombers while some pastors engage in hoodwinking naïve people in order to fleece them of their belongings.

Barry…claims mysterious convertion

Nigerians cannot forget in a hurry the story of a Christian woman who was allegedly converted to Islam without her parents’ consent and held in the palace of a traditional and Muslim ruler. That woman, Aisha Uzoechina, made headlines, and the case around her conversion grew to involve several religious institutions in Nigeria, including the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, the traditional ruler and the Sharia Court.

The daughter of a pastor at one of the largest and most influential churches in Nigeria, Aisha, in her own words, did not feel safe around her father, and so sought protection from the monarch, the Sharia Court and other Islamic organisations in Nigeria, fearing that her father would react violently towards her becoming Muslim.

In another development, this reporter was around Kubwa and saw a young man dressed in suit but without a tie, prompting me to say aloud, ‘This Aboki na corporate one o’.  A man nearby replied, ‘Madam, this boy no be Aboki o’. It was at that point that I requested that the boy be called for an impromptu interview. He told his story.

A Christian Ogoni boy from Rivers State, he claimed to have been converted four years ago to Islam when he was 16. Christened Barineka by his parents, but renamed Yusuf by his captors, Barry, as he was fondly called, was just about going to SS3 when he walked into a girl who derailed his dream of becoming a minister of God.

He was allegedly hypnotised in 2010 at the National Youth Service Corps Orientation Camp in Kubwa by the girl who gave him some groundnut which he ate after which his life’s journey took a new turn. All he knew was that he obeyed whatever the girl said and followed her to a mosque where he was forced to perform ablution and undergo blood initiation.

“A girl came into the NYSC Orientation camp on Friday, 28th September, 2010 and gave me groundnut eat. After I ate the groundnut, she told me to drink water which I also did. Consequently I seemed to lose all my senses. She told me to accompany her to the market. On getting to the market, she took me a mosque and asked me to perform ablution which I did,” Barry told Sunday Vanguard.

He continued: “After the ablution, they asked me to take a bath with water they brought for me. After the bath, they gave me blood which I cannot say whether it was human or animal blood.   They told me to use the blood to wash my private part and also drink it. The same girl also washed her private part with the blood and drank the blood too. That was how my problem started.

“My father has done the best he could to deliver me by taking me to churches all to no avail. He spent so much also.

When he takes me to school, my body will not accept to stay there. Each time they take me to church, it will be like my body is on fire. I don’t know where else to run to”.

Barry said he had been sleeping outside the mosque the said girl took him to in the last four years while he helps one Hajia who lives behind the mosque to sell ‘pure water’ and gets only N50.00 each day on which he survives..

Born on November 9, 1993, Barry claimed that his mother died while giving birth to him, saying his father remarried and his step-mother has three girls for her father, thus making him the only son of the family.

“I am the only son of the family. My mother died while giving birth to me. My father remarried. My stepmother has three daughters. I am the only son and the first child. So I have made up my mind that if it is the will of God for me to remain here, let His will be done but if it is not His will, let this situation be taken from me. Initially they said they will train me as a soldier and I will go to Sokoto only if I kill somebody that Allah will give me 12 virgins”.

That is what they asked me to do but I refused because I know the 10 Commandments and I live by them, but it is very difficult for me to leave the mosque for now. They will attack me if l leave”.

He further told Sunday Vanguard he recognizes his father, but does not have any feeling for him. “I look at my father as if he is nothing to me even though I know is my father”.

According to him, he had wanted to be a minister of God. “I had nurtured the dream of becoming a minister of God right from when l was two years only to entrapped in this slavery”.

Sunday Vanguard traced Barry’s father who obviously felt pained by the situation of his only son. If men could cry so easily, the father, an assistant director in one of the Federal government agencies, was just a drop away from tears.

He said he had not given up on Barry, having done all within his power to bring him back home without success.

The father claimed Barry’s biological mother was very much alive contrary to the story of his son that his mother died while giving birth to him 21 years ago.

According to him, he has only one wife, who is Barry’s mother, and had never married a second wife, yet Barry keeps running in and out of home like a lost child.

The father said he made efforts to bring him back home but he kept running away, saying the son even attempted suicide twice.

The father explained that he was compelled on an occasion to lock Barry up in the house just to be sure he would not run away with everything he might need including food, but when Barry saw that there was no way to ‘escape’ from the house, he drank petrol kept for generator.

He narrated that it was when the family returned home that they discovered that he did not touch his food. The father said he forced him to eat that night after which he started complaining of stomach pain.

Barry had to confess when the stomach pain persisted that he drank fuel and they had to rush him to hospital.

On the second attempt he tried to commit suicide, he wanted to set himself ablaze but for timely intervention.

Sunday Vanguard also spoke to Barry’s mother who confirmed that he was her son.

She said she didn’t understand where his son got the idea of a step-mother and three female siblings from.

She lamented on phone that she didn’t know what went wrong with her only son.

Sunday Vanguard also visited the school which Barry last attended, Jewel Model College, Kagini and spoke with the Principal, Mr Nweke Onyemenkan.

Onyemenkan said Barry was transferred from the day section of the school to boarding after his JSS3 and only spent two years in the boarding section (SS2) when he quit in 2010.

The principal described Barry’s problem as psychological but said the boy was at a time stable and was picking up on his performance before he finally stopped attending school.

Disclaimer

Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of vanguard newspapers or any employee thereof.