The HAWK Project

Friday, September 19, 2014

HAPSTA O’HAWK strengthens relationship with the Nigerian Police

As part of the efforts to promote peace and advance social tolerance in Omuo-Ekiti and its environs, the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA), on Wednesday 17th September 2014, paid courtesy visits to divisional headquarters of the Nigerian Police Force.

HAPSTA Board decided, during the 2014 2nd Quarter Project Review, that there is need to strengthen relationship with the security operatives in the Ekiti area so as to involve them more and enjoy their goodwill in the fight against the menace of witch killing, rape and other forms of jungle justice bedeviling the project area. During the meetings with the Divisional Police Officers, HAPSTA’s Admin/Accounts Manager, Seun Joseph emphasised the need to have the support of the Nigerian Police in the fight against the witch hunters and molesters/abusers who often carry out their activities unhindered because of the superstitious belief s of the people and also that of the security operatives. He cited the case of Grace Audu and two other cases where the police were accussed of being party to the assault of the women.


In his own remarks, Kehinde B. F, the DPO of Omuo divisional police headquarters reassured HAPSTA of his support for HAPSTA/ Humanist Against Witch Killing project (O’HAWK), and that the Police, under his command, will continue to do their best in ensuring that Ekiti is rid of witch hunting and stigmatization, jungle justice, rape and other vices.  


Another DPO visited, Gottoh Blessing, the DPO of Omuooke divisional police headquarters, also pledged his support for HAPSTA/O’HAWK project; noting that we should not relent in our activities and hope that someday, the government would reason with us and lend us the required supports.

Noah Balogun 

HAPSTA HOLDS ANTI-WITCH STIGMATISATION RALLY/ROAD SHOW

On Thursday 18th September 2014, the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) took yet another giant step in advocating against witch stigmatisation as we hold an anti-witch stigmatization rally/road show across eight towns in Ekiti State, Nigeria. Eight towns were purposively selected to cover the endemic areas of Ekiti where superstitions and witch stigmatisation still hold sway. These towns include Igbesi, Kota, Obadore-Omuo, Araromi-Oke, Ikun oba and Ilasa.

The rally is predicated on HAPSTA’s quest to further win the war against superstitions and blind religious indoctrination which have continued to serve as impetus for witch killing/stigmatization, ritual killing as well as jungle justice related issues such as bullying, child labour and the prevalence of rape in these towns.

The rally which started during the early hour of the day had about a hundred and three participants who are mostly our volunteers. At about a quarter past ten in the morning (10:15am), the participants gathered at the Ejire Town Hall where we discussed issues bothering on the security of lives and properties of our people. We therefore came to a conclusion that superstition remains the chief reason for the prevalence of witch killing in Omuo-Ekiti and its neighbouring towns.


We moved on to agree to spend the day to enlighten our people about the evils of blind religious indoctrination and superstitions on our communal wellbeing and existence. We also agreed to make the people of Ekiti aware of the laws that are in place to guard against violation of individual human rights; and that of the penalties that would be meted against anybody found culpable of the offenses against these fundamental human rights.


Throughout the rally, the enlightenment campaign was particularly anchored by Ayobami Ojedokun and myself, Noah Balogun. We both spoke blatantly against the barbaric practice of witch stigmatization/killing, noting that it is an act of sheer wickedness against our mothers, our wives and our daughters. We raise caution that henceforth, anybody found culpable of this offence will not go scot-free.



On getting back to the departure point at Ejire Hall in Omuooke, Oluwaseun Joseph and Oluwasanmi Adeyanju appreciated the volunteers for the support and encouragement we have enjoyed from the volunteers, noting that we are partners in the fight against witch stigmatisation/killing and all forms of unhealthy superstition standing as cog in the wheel of peace attainment in Ekiti and Nigeria at large. The volunteers, represented by Tunde Ojo, gave kudos to HAMU, Norway for supporting the OHAWK Project financially since 2013. 

Noah Balogun

Monday, September 1, 2014

HAPSTA HOLDS SUCCESSFUL 2014 INTERNATIONAL CONFERENCE

As part of our efforts to advocate against superstition, promote peace, justice and social tolerance and development, the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) on Friday 29th August 2014, holds its 4th international conference in honour of late Prof. Olusegun Oladipo, a quintessential scholar and a humanist of international repute.
A cross-section of participants at the conference

The conference had as its theme, “Humanism, Existential Predicaments and Africa”, affords the participants the opportunity to discuss superstition, which has continued to bedevil Africa despite the growth of science and technology, in the modern world, social reconstruction, communalism, religious profiteering, witchcraft, modernity, among other issues. 
Prof. O. B. Lawuyi delivering the keynote address
The preference for the choice of the topic and the setting is predicated on the prevalence of the instances of superstition and its induced ilks such as witch-killing, ritual killing, and commonplace discrimination against religious minorities and the killing of albinos in contemporary Africa.

Mrs Kehinde Oladipo receiving the Post-Homous Award bestowed on Prof. Olusegun Oladipo
The conference which started at 9:30am, as scheduled, had 105 participants in attendance among whom are scholars and other eminent personalities such as Prof. Tunde Lawuyi, who delivered the Keynote Address, Prof. Wale Olajide,  who delivered the Welcome Address;  Dr. C. A Udefi who chaired the opening session of the conference, Prof. Francis Offor who declared the conference opened, Dele danladi Agbeyo (an eminent humanist), Prof. Dipo Irele ,  Dr. Bolatito Lanre-Abass, Dr. Christopher Agulanna, Dr. Adeshina Afolayan, Dr. Sola Olorunyomi, among others; papers were also presented by 18 other humanists and scholars from diverse views (religious and non-religious).

Danladi Dele-Agbeyo receiving the Outstanding Humanist Lifetime Award in Pragmatic Humanism
The conference, which many considered a huge success on the part of the organizers, found the trio of late Prof. Olusegun Oladipo, Levi Fragell and Danladi Dele Agbeyo worthy of being honoured with different categories of awards for their contributions to humanism in Africa and the world at large. 

A cross-section of participants
The second and the third session of the conference which was about paper presentation started and ended as scheduled, and the conference came to a logical conclusion during the plenary session (with conference resolutions).


HAPSTA appreciates the participants and guests, and wished them safe trip back to their various destinations.


Noah Balogun  

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

HAPSTA HOLDS TOWN-HALL MEETING IN ETINAN, AKWA-IBOM, STATE



In our effort to drastically reduce the endemic belief in witchcraft and the prevalent practice of child-witch stigmatization, torture and in some cases killing, the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) on Thursday the 19th of June 2014, holds anotger town hall meeting with elders and religious leaders in Etinan town-hall in Etinan Local Government area of Akwa-Ibom state. 


The town-hall meeting which has its central theme: Community Involvement in the Campaign against Childwitch Stigmatisation was to explore the nexus of the role of the community in the war against child-witch stigmatization. The preference for the choice of the topic and the setting is predicated on the prevalence of the instances child-witch stigmatization in Etinan and its neighbouring local governments in Akwa-Ibom state.
The meeting which kick-started at 12:00pm as scheduled had 38 participants in attendance among whom were religious leaders; representing each of the three popular religions namely: Christianity, islam and African traditional religion, serving corp members, young school leavers, artisans and school teachers.
The meeting started with a brief introduction on who we are, what we do and the purpose of the meeting by Emmanuel Okon. Ayobami Ojedokun as interpreted by Ekaette Ante gave an elucidated talk on the role of the community in the fight against child-witch stigmatization and all other forms of child abuse that is found prevalent in Etinan, its environs and Akwa-Ibom state at large. And Emmanuel Okon also took us through the fundamental human rights and the essence of the principles of human rights as against the irrational belief and practice in witchcraft. 
In his own remark, the chairman of the occasion and the paramount ruler of Etinan, Dr. J. J Nzek beseeched everybody to cooperate with us in the fight against the irrational belief by advocating for the respect and sanctity of human rights, peace and social justice as against the irrational belief in witchcraft, resulting in child-witch stigmatization/hunting capable of deterring the desired growth and development in the area and the country at large can afford basics of life.


This section was followed by an interactive session which again took an hour. Particular questions were asked about: how we get sponsored by for our projects, whether or not we are religious or political in our activities. A boy named Nzik remarked that he is a witch and asked how the community can in that case be of help to him? Also, questions on how and what do we do to avoid the problem of witch-hunting/ and how can we protect our human rights in the face of wanton human insecurity in the country were asked. Ayobami Ojedokun and Emmanuel Okon did justice to the raised questions, noting that HAMU, Norway and AFRUCA, UK be appreciated for the support given to us so far, and stressing that it takes the collective effort of the community to successfully kicking out the mallace of witchcraft belief in the state .
Talking about the way forwards: the unenlightened Muslims, Christians should be educated on the useless passion of ritual killing and the tie of familihood is entrenched. Also, education and human rights education/advocacy is considered to be key to resolving the problem of the menace addressing.
The meeting which lasted for almost three hours was rounded off with the eventful taking of group pictures with the participants to make it memorable. Eight (8) participants volunteered to join our organization.