Please care: Child Witches

>> Thursday, July 9, 2009



I started hearing about the stigmatisation of ”Child-witches” a good while ago, but only a few days ago did I watch the documentary “Saving Africa’s Witch Children” by Channel4. It was heartwrenching to say the LEAST. I couldn’t help but start crying!
This tiny little absolutely beautiful girl, who could only have been 5 years old had been accused of poisoning her little sister. All the villagers were shouting at her and telling her how they were planning to kill her with a machete. Her parents would not defend her, no one would! The people of Stepping Stones Nigeria and CRARN tried to reason with the people, but there was no reasoning with them. The man said to them that he would most definitely kill her that night. She was standing there, skinny, all alone, crying whilst biting her nails, confused looking from person to person not understanding a thing they were talking about.They were screaming and pointing on her talking about how she was evil and a witch. The men from Stepping Stones and CRARN had to save her and she had to escape from her own family with only a plastic bag on the top of her head.




The belief in witchcraft is widespread in the Niger-Delta, most especially Akwa Ibom State and Cross River state. The children are especially vulnerable for being suspected as witches. The orphaned children are even more at risk. There are hundreds of thousands of HIV/AIDS Orphans in Nigeria, in fact the UN estimates it at nearly one MILLION. These kids have suffered enough as it is, losing their parents and being left to live on the street. On top of it all they are subjected to abuse, rape and trafficking. Children are being trafficked to Europe and other African countries, for hard labour or prostitution. This IS MODERN-DAY SLAVERY.
Let me quote some of the information being given on the Stepping Stones website:
The deeply held belief by the people of Akwa Ibom State and the Efik speaking communities in Cross River State cuts across all tiers of society. Widely read and travelled academics and local villagers fear such children. This fear stems from the belief that a spiritual spell can be given to a person through food and drink. The soul of the person who eats this spell will then leave the body to be initiated in a gathering of witches and wizards. The initiated person will then have the power to wreak havoc, such as causing diseases like HIV/AIDS, malaria, hepatitis, typhoid, cancer. All accidents, drunkenness mental health problems, smoking of marijuana, divorce, infertility, and misfortunes are seen to be the handiwork of witches and wizards. In recent times it is believed that children have become the target for initiation by the elderly witches as they are more susceptible to their spells and are quicker in action.

What are the suspected child-witches subjected to?

Some of them are buried alive, some of them get slaughtered. Others get poisoned and bathed in acid. The “less” awful ways of punishment is being chained and tortured in church in order to extract confessions from them and being isolated and ostracized from their communities.

This is nothing ABSOLUTELY DREADFUL.

Stepping Stones Nigeria is an NGO that fights for these children. They’re fighting to provide welfare and education to the children, to save them from these dangerous situations and to restore their happiness and health, and help heal physical and psychological damage done to these innocent children.
The belief in witchcraft, most especially child-witchcraft is a nonsensical belief funded on ignorance. The disintegration of families and poverty contributes to the problem as people are looking for someone to blame for their misfortune. At the same time, there are greedy religious leaders who profits from this. There are numerous “pastors” who are gaining economic wealth from branding children as child-witches.

Recently, there’s been a campaign of terror against the partner NGO of Stepping Stones, the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network Centre. “Police officers” from Lagos came to the CRARN Centre claiming to be donors, but shortly after arrested two staff members and beat up the children! Stepping Stones believes this to be a direct response to the documentary. The documentary highlighted HELEN UKPABIO, a self-proclaimed pastor and founder of the Liberty Gospel Foundation Church. The documentary also brought up how her film production company, Liberty Films, have contributed in spreading the belief in child-witchcraft. She is behind the Nollywood film “The End of the Wicked” which is a movie about child-witches that graphically shows the acts of such “witches”.She has since filed legal complaints against CRARN.

Please, do NOT just read this post and not do anything. There are many things we can do. We can simply not just stand by and watch. I know one can feel powerless, like there is nothing that can be done. But there are plenty of things that can be done that would only take 5 minutes of your time and cost no money.

Most people have been upset by Michael Jackson’s death and the media has highlighted his life and works for the last couple of days. In the spirit of Michael Jackson; who did all he could to help the world and first and foremost cared about the welfare of children, DO what he would have done. It is only when thousands of people speak up that this monumental challenge can be overcome.

This is what you can do:

* Donate your old mobile phone
* Donate your old Laptop
* Spread the word – Join the facebook group and sign the online petition, get others to do the same
* Request a talk at your church, youth group or school


Click this link to get simple instructions how to do the above

And LETTER / E-MAIL WRITING

This is a technique that has been used for many years by human rights organisations such as Amnesty International and it HELPS. It is especially important that we act now with the recent attacks on the NGO-workers. There are 3 things you can do:

- Write a letter/e-mail to your closest Nigerian Ambassador
- Write a letter/e-mail to the inspector General of the police in Nigeria
- And even more simple : SEND A MESSAGE ON FACEBOOK TO THE GOVERNOR OF AKWA IBOM STATE.

I know this sounds like a big deal but it really isn’t and it WORKS.

We need to join our voices together to help these innocent children.

Stepping Stones have already written finished letters that you can simply edit and put your name on it. That’s it, 1-2-3!

So Click the above link to do your share.


Come on, this will only take you 5 minutes. If you can spare the time to turn on your computer, read someones blog entry, sign into facebook and watch your friend's updates, you can do this too.

Anyone reading this is blessed enough to be safe, secure and financially well off enough to have the access to a computer. These children who are not even grown up enough to understand the world around them are fearing for your their life. Put yourself in their shoes! Share the blessing God has given you and do what you are capable of. These children are not capable of defending themselves.


Thank you and God bless




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17 comments:

Lady X July 9, 2009 at 1:58 PM  

I had no idea this even happened! I went to the site but then it doesn't say where to send in the stuff...

jhazmyn July 9, 2009 at 2:53 PM  

This is just plain crazy, and my question is, when did torment become the cure for the said "possessed people and witches" even Jesus prayed for them rather than kill them, i actually googled this up and read the articles on it cos i thought this was an act that died out with our fore fathers.

Adaeze July 9, 2009 at 2:59 PM  

@ Lady X - I do believe it says where to send it in...There are addresses to the ambassadors and the addresses says on top of the letters, also there are links on how to recycle your cellphone, and e-mail addy if you want to give away your laptop. There are also instructions how to contact the governor over facebook

@ Jhazmyn - I know it is just plain crazy and I coulnd't agree withou more..its just backward. Apparently it did not die out and we need to do a lot mroe to exstinguish it!

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  
This comment has been removed by the author.
Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:19 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

Rose July 9, 2009 at 3:20 PM  

I'm so stunned...
Where does this belief stem from, and what effective measure can be applied to crush it???

Ps.I apologise for the delay in the reply of the mail...I have been slightly busy,my pc has been fixed now, and the internet connection is quite epileptic....

naija shawty July 9, 2009 at 4:56 PM  

this story is saddening. but i believe there is hope in eradicating these activities in the long run

blogoratti July 9, 2009 at 7:48 PM  

Crazy stuff..be back to read more.

leggy July 9, 2009 at 11:53 PM  

wow...how sad.this is really crazy..i didnt no this still happened in naija.

Enkay July 10, 2009 at 3:51 PM  

This is so appalling!

A lot of Nigerians are superstitious and believe that witches live amongst us. People believe in ancestral curses and all that but labeling children as witches and brutalizing them? That's taking it too far!

Before making this comment, I'd already gone ahead to send a message to the governor of Akwa-Ibom on facebook. It's so little and I hope it helps.

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