Find below a piece on HAWK Forum held last month.
Brand a child a witch/wizard in Akwa-Ibom, make N400,000
The menace of child witch-branding cum witch-killing is currently synonymous with the Niger Delta, particularly Akwa Ibom State. Many children who have fallen victim have gory tales to tell, and some Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) which have taken it upon themselves to tackle the menace appear to be hamstrung, reports Stephen Gbadamosi.
Imagine this spectacle: a crowd gathers around an 11-year-old girl, with some elders wielding sticks, clubbing her and commanding, "Confess, you bewitched your father. If you don't say the truth, you will die!" Then, a middle-aged man, perhaps the little girl's uncle, clears his way to the centre of the crowd, with a rough stone and a three-inch nail in his hands.
"If you won't confess, then you will simply die," he blurts out, standing the nail in the middle of the girl's head and ramming it into her skull with the stone. The crowd erupts in triumphant jubilation.
This is one of the kind of true-life experiences of the approximately 15,000 children that have been branded witches in Akwa Ibom State in recent times.
The concept of witchcraft is not new to Africa and, indeed, the world at large. This belief is as old as traditional societies themselves. As a result of the belief in witchcraft in primordial societies, the concept of wit ch-killing had arisen, a development that had seen many females, especially those who refused to confess to the allegations, being sent to early their graves. These allegations mostly derive from the belief that witches have supernatural powers to influence other people's lives, particularly in a negative way.
While history has it that witch-killing was pronounced during the middle-age Europe and early 20th century Africa. an NGO, Young Humanist Network, in association with Human Etosk Forbund (HEF) of Norway, recently said current information on the internet, available on youtube.com, reveals that "Africa is, indeed, picking up the sad piece of European middle ages, despite advancements in science and technology."
Despite the fact that the Child Rights Bill has been passed into law by the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly, the child witch-branding saga has continued unabated in the state. In many parts of the world and in different places in Nigeria, people are oblivious of the fact that his barbaric practice still thrives in the richest, but probably the most backward, part of Nigeria. But activities of the NGOs, such as the YHN-HEF project and the Child Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) are exposing the obnoxious practice , particularly in the Niger Delta state of Akwa Ibom. CRARN, aided by a Briton, Gary Foxcroft, who came to Akwa Ibom for his Master's research project and later founded an NGO in the area while working in conjunction with YHN-HEF, blew the lid on the plight of witch-branded children in Akwa Ibom State.
Thanks for your supports thus far!
Yemi Ademowo Johnson