Christian Lawyer in Nigeria Defending Women and Girls Warns of Intense Persecution

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Christians in northeast Nigeria are under tremendous pressure from Islamic militants, according to a local attorney in the area. Catherine Yila Kwaltings says Christian girls and women are facing incessant attacks and targeted abductions. 

“As a private legal practitioner, I have witnessed the bitter effects of the terrorist activities against Christians,” she said. “Here in Bauchi State, Christians are experiencing serious persecution and abductions from extremists in the area.”

In the ten years since she began her legal practice in Bauchi, Kwaltings says she has handled at least 15 different cases on the issues of abduction and other violence against Christian women and girls.  

Earlier this year, she recently handled a case in an Islamic court of a Christian woman from Alkaleri town, Bauchi, who was beaten and injured in her place of business, sustaining serious physical injuries. 

“I was deeply disturbed by the cruelty that took place against this woman. The Muslim man who attacked this woman was arrested, tried, and convicted. Thankfully, he was sentenced to four years in prison and made to pay 500,000 naira ($630 USD) to the woman.”

Kwaltings has encountered many instances of kidnapping, including a significant case in May 2023 surrounding a 13-year-old Christian girl named Grace. She was abducted from her parents, taken to the house of an Imam, and forced to convert to Islam. 

“When I heard about this case, I decided to intervene,” said Kwaltings. “I challenged the Islamic courts in the matter of her conversion. According to Nigeria’s constitution, individuals under the age of 18 cannot undergo such religious conversion.”

“I explained that even if this conversion was of her own will as the leaders claimed, her age displayed that she was not yet fully capable of making this decision and needed to be returned to her parents.” 

Through Kwaltings’ intervention, Grace was returned to her family. 

“My advice to Christians who are facing persecution in Nigeria is that we should be courageous and speak out whenever we’re persecuted,” Kwaltings said. “Let our voices be heard. Also, we should try to be peacemakers, as our Christian faith teaches us to show love to others, just as Jesus Christ loved his church.”

“I call on Christians all over the world to stand with our fellow Christians when they’re persecuted,” she said.

Photo Courtesy: ©Getty Images/Naruedom

Global Christian Relief (GCR) is America’s leading watchdog organization focused on the plight of persecuted Christians worldwide. In addition to equipping the Western church to advocate and pray for the persecuted, GCR works in the most restrictive countries to protect and encourage Christians threatened by faith-based discrimination and violence.

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