An 18-year-old Nigerian Christian convert has been granted a court order protecting her from her father and brothers, who have been threatening to kill her for leaving the Islamic religion.
According to Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) International, the religious freedom organization that assisted in the case, the woman, identified by the pseudonym Mary Olowe, was smuggled to safety in a Christian community by her mother.
Following the threats, Olowe and her mother sought a restraining order against the father and brothers. The order said that “the defendants are hereby restrained from threat and attempt on the life of the applicant following her decision to change from the practice of Islam to Christianity and also not to breach her fundamental rights as to the choice of her religion or thoughts .”The order was not appealed, according to Olowe’s legal representatives, ADF International.
Legal Counsel Sean Nelson said he hopes the outcome of the case will help others facing similar threats because of their Christian faith: “We are relieved that Mary has found protection from these credible threats and that the court recognized her fundamental right to convert from Islam to Christianity.”
According to a recent U.S state department report on religious freedom, Nigeria has no official state religion according to its constitution. However, religion in the country is mainly split between Muslims and Christians with 2023 data from the CIA World Factbook stating just over half the 230 million population follow Islam, while 46 per cent follow Christianity. An estimated 5,621 Christians worldwide were killed for their faith last year. Of those, 90 percent were Nigerian according to latest research from religious freedom charity Open Doors. The African country ranks number six on the charity’s list of countries where Christians suffer the most extreme persecution for their faith.