Logo of ECWA used to demonstrate the story.
By Marie-Theresa Nanlong
The President of the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA, Rev. Stephen Panya has denied that the Church is forcefully converting almajiris to Christianity.
Rev. Panya noted that 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 President stated, “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 the religious crisis. Accordingly, we wish to present the following facts on the allegation: 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.”
“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. Trainees at the facility, as a matter of policy, are all adults with none falling below the age of 18…
“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 for the purpose of forcefully converting 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 on the program of their own volition and were not forced… 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…
“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 above are the facts the Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA) has offered. Any other insinuations and/or accusations such as has been made viral on the media space are fabricated lies to dent the good works of ECWA since the past 129 years of its existence.”