Members of the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) and Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) partners on the SCRIP Project, on Tuesday 19th February visited Junior Technical School, Ikpa, Esit Eket and Eket Community High School, Eket. The purpose of the visit according to the Programme Manager of the organisation, Mr. Temidayo Oladipo is to sensitise the pupils on the principles and importance of humanist and science education which are vital in the campaign to eradicate child stigmatization as witches in Akwa Ibom State. The pupils who were enlightened on the evils of superstitious beliefs and obsolete taboos were encouraged to embrace and imbibe scientific and rational thinking that is an antidote to the humiliating cultural beliefs and practices.
The principal of Junior Technical School, Ikpa, Mr Ben, who received the members of the associations, and participated in the interaction between the association and the pupils, commended the association for their effort and promised to continue to support such noble efforts. He also enjoined the association to extend their effort to other schools in the area. Some of the students who are the beneficiaries of the visit expressed their happiness in participating in the discussion as it has open their eyes to the ills of superstition and improved their knowledge about science and cultural practices. They however appealed to the organisation to make the school talk a continuous exercise because it can change the mindset of the younger generation. According to one of the students, Miss Rose, “the discussion on superstition will help us to advise our parents and friends who believe the people and children (sic) can be witches).
HAPSTA has as one of its cardinal focuses to promote humanist/science education in the childwitches endemic areas this year (2013). The aim of this venture is to promote science education among Nigerians especially among young people so that they will serve as change agents in checkmating the crass killings and stigmatization in the name of witch-labeling in Akwa-Ibom in particular and Nigeria, in general.