The HAWK Project

Saturday, November 3, 2012

SCRIP Enlightenment Crew Live on JoliJoli show, on Atlantic FM

YHN public enlightenment crew led by Emman Okon, were on a LIVE radio show on Atlantic FM, Uyo on 24 October, 2012 between 11:00am- 11:30am. JOLIJOLI is a very popular pidgin radio show with over 300,000 audience.
After enlightenment prelude on our work and achievements, the lines were open for twenty minutes for feedback and contributions. Callers comments were encouraging and also critical of our work, with good suggestions. YHN/SCRIP jingle will be on JoliJoli from January, 2013. Thanks to HAMU, Norway, HEF, Oslo branch (and the Swedish Humanist Aid)

2012 YHN SCRIP Meeting with Men and Women of God

In line with our method of collective involvement, YHN/CRARN organised our 2012 edition of Pastors' Parley on 24 October, 2012 at the Civic Center, Ikot.
The meeting was attended by notable pastors and the discussions after the lead presentations by Project Officer (Research), Mr Babatunde Elegbede and Field Coordinator, Emman Okon, was robust and showed the achievements made so far since the project started in 2008.
YHN Pastors' Parley was first sponsored by the Stepping Stones Nigeria in 2010. This year's edition is funded by HAMU, Norway. Special thanks to the Christian Association of Nigeria, Eket

YHN SCRIP 2012 Staff and Volunteers Training and Review

On August 16, 2012, YHN/CRARN Stigmatized Children Rights Project staff and volunteers were retrained on locating their place in the overall goal of the SCRIP project and how best to contribute to the achievement of the objectives.
Fifty alert volunteers from the project areas and eleven staff attended the training, financed by HAMU, Norway.
A very productive learning and brainstorming session.

Friday, September 28, 2012

YHN/CRARN rescues a teenage girl accused of witchcraft

In June, YHN rescue team, led by Bassey Antia (Rescue and Investigations Officer) on receiving a call to rescue from an anonymous caller (through our dedicated rescue hotline: +234 8084078439), swung into action to rescue Idongesit from Edor, Esit-Eket. She was accused by his "foster" step-father of being a witch.
The girl was rescued, the case was investigated and the criminal-minded step-father who inflicted the injuries was arrest. The man of God who confirmed her being a child was on the run. When later arrest, on 17 June, 2012, he claimed he NEVER said that. We then requested the Police initiate prosecution against the step-father. - Bassey, for YHN

Wednesday, May 30, 2012

YHN/CRARN Stigmatized Children Transit Center organises 2012 Children Day Party

Today 27th May 2012, a party tag ‘WE ARE FREED FROM WITCH – STIGMATIZATION PARTY ‘ was organized to commemorate this year children day . Children played together with other street children from adjoining communities and they share their experiences. They plead for full implementation of the state child right law .
The speech of party was as follows ; The preceding philosophical assertion by Gabriela Mistral, a Chilean Poet and Nobel laureate, is certainly expected to engage the minds of the Nigerian political class, parents, privileged business class, traditional rulers, the academic community and other stakeholders as Nigeria joins other countries the world over to celebrate this year’s Children’s Day today with the theme, Let’s build a culture of peace and security for the Nigerian child. This theme cannot be more relevant and imperative than now and forever as the Nigerian child, empirically speaking, has become most endangered in the midst of many abnormal events which have daily continued to shake the foundation and growth pattern of his life. Accordingly, information and data rolled out periodically by credible and reputable organisations have consistently, over the years, portrayed the Nigerian child as having a bleak future, as one almost permanently ruined in inter-religious and ethnic conflicts that stunt his socio-economic growth, and as one bred in a million of endless social strife and instability generated by the greed, selfishness, corruption and incompetence of most of the country’s political, economic, business, religious, traditional and academic leaders. Apart from that, many Nigerian children are still subjected to physical and mental violence, sexual abuse, stigmatized as witches and wizards , neglect and maltreatment, even while with parents or guardians, especially as most parents these days hardly devote quality time to their children, under the excuse of making a living for them. And apart from child labour, many Nigerian children are victims of human trafficking, kidnapping and ritual killing. Thus, a recent study by the International Labour Organisation showed that Nigeria lost 4,000 children to traffickers. The newly released 2012 UNICEF NIGERIA CHILD WITCH REPORT summarizes the findings of a research carried out in Akwa Ibom State, and in Eket Senatorial zone in particular, to investigate reports of prevalence of children being accused of witchcraft ). It was also claimed by UNICEF a year ago that about 10 million Nigerian children of school age were out of school. This is in spite of federal and some state governments’ free education programme under the framework of Universal Basic Education programme, and the almajiri education that has just been launched by the Federal Government. But against the backdrop of cultivating culture of peace and security of the Nigerian child, what do the Nigerian children actually need to be, apart from being assets to themselves and to the society? Yet, there is really nothing that we cannot afford for the Nigerian child, such as adequate meals, shelter, good primary health care, committed parental upbringing, good education and guaranteed future of opportunities. Thus, it is not for want of money that most of our children suffer comprehensive deprivation, especially in the context of peace and security. Nor is it for lack of local expertise and foreign assistance to lift our children out of fate that, if care is not taken, could be worse than what their parents experienced in childhood. Rather, it is for want of a broad vision of a greater tomorrow, concerned leadership, focused direction and competent management of the country’s abundant resources. In this regard, at least four of the eight Millennium Development Goals that Nigeria, like the rest of the world, must meet by 2015 focus one way or the other on the conditions of children. But the reports so far indicate that the country may not meet these goals. Why? Because the Nigerian child has continued to be a victim of “adult delinquency” — that is the failure of the older generation to genuinely plan for the child’s future in a most pragmatic manner, backed by political will. Indeed, most adults in high and low positions of authority unwillingly ruin the lives of millions of Nigerian kids through disastrous choices, thus undermining their peace and security. Many of such adults in the political class have not helped matters, as they tend to engage in attitude of profligacy towards politics and governance, which often threatens the peace and security of the children. As a consequence, most Nigerian children become victims of moral dislocation and value-disorientation fostered on them by adults. To that extent, the hardest task or challenge our children face today is that they live in a society where there are very few examples or models to look up to in spite of the long speeches and fanfare that invariably mark the celebration every year. Yet, Nigeria is a unique nation whose predominantly young population holds so much tremendous promise in terms of energy and talent. No serious nation jokes with the future of its children. This implies that Nigeria’s capacity to compete in a world that is focusing on knowledge, skills and ability would depend on the quality of its investment in its young population. Therefore, as Nigeria celebrates another Children’s Day today, I call on our leaders to really look beyond the rituals of speech making and engage in serious, thought-provoking policies, with a view to making more time, energy and resources available for the full-scale development of the Nigerian child. I also call on other state Houses of Assembly that have not passed the 2003 Child Rights Act to do so without further delay. That is the most reliable and sustainable way to ensure peace and security for the Nigerian child, since any country that fails to secure the future of its young generation places its own future in je pardy. Thank you.
During the party food and drinks were given to the children and the party closed at 4pm. Emmanuel Okon YHN/CRARN Stigmatized Children Transit Center Coordinator

Monday, April 2, 2012

YHN/CRARN arrests another parent for stigmatization and abandonment

On 15th March 2012 the father of Daniel Akpan Friday, Mr Friday Daniel,was arrested by the Eket divisional police based on YHN/CRARN SCRIP Project petition against him. He was arrested for child stigmatization as witch and consequent abandonment of same child, Master Daniel Akpan Friday. During investigation by the police Mr Friday Akpan told the IPO in the presence of his lawyer that his son is "sick". When the IPO insist on the type of sickness, he said the boy is a witch (and possessed) and that he took him to one prophetess for deliverance by December 2011 and since then he has not seen Daniel again. He also claimed to be surprised for police to arrest him.

The police officer ordered Mr Friday Akpan to produce the prophetess on Wednesday 28th March 2012 at 8:00 am prompts for further investigation.
On 28/03/2012 Mr Friday Akpan could not provide the prophetess for investigation and he was given up to Tuesday 3/04/2012 to come with the prophetess for interview with the DPO, he was granted bail after staying less than 24hrs in the police detention.

YHN/CRARN visits reconciled alleged childwitches

As part of efforts to monitor the welfare of alleged childwitches, YHN/CRARN team led by the Project Manager, Mr Ayo Ojedokun visited reconciled alleged childwitches within Oron land, Esit Eket and Eket in the month of March.

Ten reconciled children were visited. We asked questions bordering on their welfare, feeding, schooling, peoples' attitude towards them, among others.

A get-together/reunification if fixed for May, 2012.

Friday, March 9, 2012

YHN/CRARN prosecute parent over witchcraft stigmatization

Mr. Michael Effiong about 38 years old man from Odoronkit village in Esit Eket Local Government Area was arrested on the 1st of March 2012 by Esit Eket Divisional police over witchcraft accusation and abandonment of his son Master Benjamin Michael Effiong.

The complain which was brought to the police by the two NGOs, working in partnership, Young Humanistas Network and Child’s Right and Rehabilitation (YNH/CRARN) based in Eket Akwa Ibom State Nigerian was as follows: that the said Mr. Michael Effiong from Odoronkit Village in Esit Eket L.G. A. accused his 7 years old son Master Benjamin Michael Effiong in February 2008 of been a wizard and the cause of all his problems. The little boy who had stayed in YHN/CRARN Centre for over 3 years was later reconciled with the father in February 2011 after counselling. Just a year later Benjamin was seen wandering along Ikot Afaha –Idung Offiong road in Eket L. G. A. (about 11 kilometers away from his home) with a bag of clothes on his head when interviewed by a staff of YHN/CRARN. Benjamin said his father was arrested by police , when he was release, the father called him and said he is the cause of all his problems that he is a wizard. The father packed all his clothes and put in a polythene bag and put on his head and drop him on the street. After intensive investigation by YHN/CRARN it was discovered that the father deliberately accused Benjamin of being a wizard and abandoned him on the street . YHN/CRARN reported the matter the police on 29/2/2012 and an arrest was made on March 1st, 2012.
After days in police cell without any surety to sign his bail bond, the matter was taken to the Magistrate court in Uquo in Esit Eket L. G. A. by YNH/CRARN prosecution team at about 12: 00. GMT on Thursday, 8 March, 2012. Young Humanistas Network and Child’s Right and Rehabilitation were the complainant while Mr. Michael Effiong was a respondent.

The presiding magistrate after going through the charges asked Mr. Michael Effiong the following questions:
Magistrate: Do you know that you have committed a serious offence against this child by calling him a wizard?
Mr Michael: Yes
Magistrate: Which church do you attend?
Ans. Apostolic Church, lkpa Town in Esit Eket L. G. A.
Magistrate: What is the name of your pastor
Ans. I can remember because he is a new pastor (he lie to the court)
Magistrate: Are you married?
Ans.Yes but we have divorced
Magistrate: How many children do you have ?
Ans. Two but my wife killed one and ran to the fishing port
Magistrate: What is your occupation?
Ans. Wood Sawyer
Magistrate: Do you know that you have committed evil against this child
Ans. Yes
Magistrate: Do you know that the Governor of Akwa Ibom state His Excellency Godswill Obot Akpabio was a child like this?
Ans. Yes
Magistrate: Do you know people ( human traffickers ) are going around the town buying children
Ans. Yes
Magistrate: Do you know what this child will be tomorrow?
Ans. No
Magistrate: Do you have parents?
Ans. Yes
Magistrate: While don’t you give them this child for proper care and when did you see this child last
Ans. When I was arrested.
Magistrate: If any pastor tells you that your child is a wizard, that pastor is a liar. I want you to apologize to this child. If you use your mouth and tell the world that your child is a wizard what do you thing will happen to that child?
The Magistrate then called the child “my son” and asked him to stand up. She asked the child who is caring for him, he answered YHN/CRARN. The Magistrate asked who is providing food for him. And he answered YHN/CRARN.
The Magistrate then commended the NGOs and assured that the case will be transferred to the Family Court for proper hearing since it involved children issue and then ordered Mr Michael to be remanded in prison custody till 22/3/2012 for further hearing
The case was transferred to DPP (Department of Public Prosecution) which will direct the case to family Court, Eket. The matter was adjourned to 22nd of March 2012 and the Magistrate promised that her Court will follow up the matter wherever it will be taken to, to make sure the child is properly taken care of.

Compiled by Emman Okon (YHN/CRARN Litigation Officer/Field Office Coordinator), Bassey Antia (YHN Investigation Officer and Ayobami Ojedokun (YHN/CRARN Center Manager)