View Full Version : Child witches in Nigeria

06-24-2009, 06:59 PM
So my mum watched a documentary on this topic last night and was telling me about it this morning, bawling as she did so. I tried not to cry but what she was telling me blew my mind.

"Children as young as three months are being abandoned, tortured and killed across Nigeria after being labelled as “child-witches” by extreme religious leaders.

Demonstration against child abuse

Stepping Stones Nigeria, a UK-based NGO operating largely in the Akwa Ibom region of Nigeria, say the problem is on the rise. They document that in Akwa Ibom state alone, where such accusations are particularly frequent, around 15,000 children have been branded as witches and wizards. Radical Pentecostal preachers name children in their congregations that they claim have been possessed by demons. The family is then charged up to 400,000 Niara (around £170 – a year’s income for many Nigerian families) to 'exorcise' the spirit.

The ‘exorcism’ can involve extreme starvation, isolation and psychological and physical torture. As a result children have been bound with rope or chicken wire, burned, bathed in acid, poisoned, drowned, buried alive and wounded with machetes or nails. This is done either to obtain a witchcraft confession, or to simply drive the demon out.

Stepping Stones believe the principle driver of the alarming rise in witchcraft-related child abuse is the Liberty Gospel Church, a radical branch of the Pentecostal fellowship founded in 2000. There were isolated reports of children being abused up in the name of exorcism previous to this date, but the problem has greatly intensified since.

Once branded as a witch, a child will be ostracized from their community, abandoned by their family, refused shelter and education from schools and treatment at hospitals. Even children who have undergone ‘deliverance’ at the hands of preachers or their parents can rarely escape the stigma of being a witch, and will usually eventually be killed, forced to live rough, or if they are lucky will be found by the Children’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), who run the only shelter for children accused of being witches in Akwa Ibom state.

The sect was founded by Helen Ukpabio, an extremely wealthy and influential Nigerian preacher, who now has 150 churches across the country. The church release films through an affiliated production company called Liberty Films. These videos, which depict child witches eating human flesh, flying and casting evil spells, have proved extremely popular. They claim that children can be identified as witches if they present symptoms such as excessive crying, persistent fever or general unruly behaviour. A recent release ‘End of the Wicked’, claims that the Liberty Church can, for a fee, ‘deliver’ a child from the devil’s influence. This deliverance always involves some degree of psychological or physical torture and is often just as brutal as the torture inflicted on accused child-witches by parents and communities who cannot afford the fee demanded by professional exorcists.

While Liberty Films’ releases do not directly sanction the abuse of children, they do prompt parents who suspect their children of being witches to send them to the Liberty Church so that they may be ‘delivered’. Ukpabio herself has consistently denied that the films her production company releases are connected with the sudden, alarming rise in the abuse of so-called child-witches. Instead she likens her films to the Harry Potter series. According to Ukpabio, they too highlight the devastation witchcraft can cause.

The Liberty Gospel Church is extremely influential in both religious and political spheres, and has found many easy converts in the poverty-stricken area of the Niger Delta. Here, societal stresses caused by the economic and ecological devastation caused by the oil industry, are taken out on children.

The belief in sorcery is also deeply rooted in Nigerian culture. According to local press, the “vast majority” of people, including legislators, commissioners, police and social welfare workers, believe in witchcraft to some degree. Many serious incidents, such as sudden deaths, drought, disease and unemployment are blamed on witches.

Government Officials from Akwa Ibom have been slow to act, as have senior figures from the Pentecostal movement. The president of the Pentecostal Fellowship in Akwa Ibom, Dr. Cletus Bussey, claims that the Liberty Gospel Church’s views are not representative of the Pentecostal Fellowship, and has gone so far as to say that in his view the church should not distribute films such as ‘End of the Wicked’, but he has refused to take any action to counter the problem.

The state governor, Godswill Akpabio, recently caved into pressure from activists from CRARN and Stepping Stones Nigeria to enacted the Children’s Rights Act which makes child abuse illegal. So far only one man has been arrested, Bishop Sunday Ulup-Aya, who was filmed by Channel 4 boasting that he had “killed 110 witches”. However neither Helen Ukpabio nor anybody else involved in the making of the films has been brought to account. Stepping Stones and CRARN are continuing their campaign for effective implementation of the Children’s Rights Act, and are lobbying the state governor and parliament to fund education programmes to counter the influence of Liberty Films’ propaganda.

To find out more about the abuse of so-called ‘child witches’ in Nigeria, or to find out how you can help, visit www.steppingstonesnigeria.org"

Source: http://www.themule.info/article/charity-condemns-pentecostal-church-driving-witchcraft-child-abuse-nigeria

I hope to one day work in a foreign embassy as an Ambassador to either Australia or New Zealand. To be a diplomat and and advocate for human rights. I'm too young now but in a couple of years I plan to get my hands dirty and get involved with helping to fight the horrendous abuse children such as these "child witches" suffer.

06-25-2009, 02:24 AM
Things of this sort are very horrible, of course. Although one should not forget all the child abuse likely occurring in one's own country (well, I live in the US, and I'm sure there's plenty of all kinds of terrible child abuse here).

06-27-2009, 11:47 AM
This is really horrible.

Such things take place everywhere, and we in Nepal too has such cases. It is really disgusting. People keep on intimidating and threatening those who are kind of suspected about witchery.

In fact in Nepal the majority of people are superstitious. Sometimes some people are so much superstitious that they burn witches to death.

06-27-2009, 02:29 PM
How could any mother let such a thing happen to her child?! That is just beyond sickening