BY SEGUN ADEBAYO,
ABUJA – A Missionary, Prof. Solomon Tarfa, who was arrested from his orphanage in Nigeria on Christmas Day in 2019 and kept in detention since then has been released.
Prof. Tarfa’s release last week came two days after the United States Government designated Nigeria a Country of Particular Concern for religious persecution.
A statement by the US-Nigeria Law Group, said that Tarfa spent almost a year in detention, adding that Human rights advocates had written to the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to classify him a Prisoner of Conscience following his persecution as a Christian missionary serving orphans especially after his wife and lawyer met with a USCIRF Commissioner during a private visit to Nigeria this year.
The US-Nigeria Law Group’s statement which was signed by Emmanuel Ogebe, explained that shortly before his release, the Nigerian President replaced the Christian head of NAPTIP Dr. Julie Okah-Donli with a Muslim after it appeared that she resisted the use of the agency for the unconstitutional persecution of persons.
Ogebe said that the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons was used to arrest Prof Tarfa amongst others, adding that Dr Okah-Donli is believed to have been retaliated against for insisting on fairness and accountability to global partners and human rights practices in these matters.
Ogebe explained that the legal team of Prof Tarfa had insisted that he is still facing trial on bogus charges and was only released on bail.
According to Ogebe; “The Kano state government carted away the orphans to a worse setting while the Kaduna state government demolished his Du Mercy orphanage home while he was in prison.
“The detention of Prof Tarfa received attention in UK where it came before members of the House of Lords.
“It is unfortunate that Kano State which freed the killers of a Deeper Life pastor’s wife Mrs Bridget, which deported street urchins after using them for under age voting has detained a kindhearted humanitarian for his generosity to the vulnerable”.