The HAWK Project

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Child-Witchcraft Accusation: HAPSTA Aids Police

---arrests petty trader who abandoned ‘witch’son in neighboring state

A petty trader, Mr. Edoho Ben Edoho on Saturday 24th August 2013 was arrested by men of Eket Divisional Police Command for child abuse and trafficking. Mr. Edoho who hailed from Akpautong in Esit Eket Local Government of Akwa Ibom state was arrested at his shop in Ikot Odiong, Eket for maltreating and abandoning his six year-old son Daniel Sunday after Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) and its partner, Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN)reported him to the police.

According to investigation, Mr. Edoho and his new wife accused the boy, Daniel, of being responsible for their misfortune through his witchcraft; so, Edoho transported Daniel to Port Harcourt back in July and abandoned him there. However, on 1st August, a good Samaritan, Mr. George Obot found the boy in Ahaoda Rivers state and took him to HAPSTA Children Transit Centre in Eket where the boy was accommodated.
Commenting on the arrest, HAPSTA Project Manager, Mr. Ayobami Ojedokun said due to their experience in the state since 2008, members of the organisation are not surprised by the tactics being employed by child abusers and that they will not relax their efforts in prosecuting them. He added that the organisation since 2008 has been caring and fighting for the rights of children maltreated and stigmatised for witchcraft accusation in Akwa Ibom state.

Saturday, August 24, 2013


----          Reunifies Two Boys With Families

The members of Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) bring joy and smiles to the Asuquo and Okon families when two boys Asuquo Ita Asuquo and Okon Ita Okon who were stigmatised and abandoned to the streets as a result of witchcraft accusation were reunified with their families on Tuesday 20th August 2013 at their various home towns.

Asuquo, a 16-year old who had been at the HAPSTA/CRARN Transit Centre, Eket since 27th September 2011 was reunified with his family at Edikor Village, Udung Uko Local Government of Akwa Ibom. His father, Mr. Ita Asuquo Effiong who received Asuquo said the members of his family are very happy to welcome him back into the family after staying at the Transit Centre for 24 months.

In Oron where Okon was reunited with his maternal family at No. 12, Eyulo Street, his mother Mrs. Ini Okon Adatong appreciated all the organisation did for the boy since he was rescued. She promised to take good care of the boy and protect him from the stigma of the accusation. Asuquo had been in the care of the organisation since 29th April 2012.

HAPSTA with its partner Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) through the Stigmatised Child Rights Project (SCRIP), funded by HAMU, Norway, had since 2008 been fighting for the rights of children accused and labeled as witches; rescuing them from brutality of their accusers and taking them to custody. The SCRIP Project Manager, Mr. Ayobami Ojedokun speaking during the reunification said more children at the Transit Centre whose families and accusers had been reoriented and are suitable for reunification will soon be reunited with their families. He said the organisation will not relent in its efforts to protect and care for the stigmatised children, and most importantly reunify them with their families because the family is still the best place for child development.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Humanists Recognise Outstanding Child Rights Campaigner, Police Officer and Lawyer

A group of humanists under the umbrella of Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) with their partners at the Child Rights and Protection Network (CRARN), Eket recognised the outstanding contributions of three citizens who have dedicated their time, resources and energies to fighting superstitious beliefs and practices resulting in various human rights abuses. The three citizens recognised and presented with the 2013 Humanitarian Service Award are a Divisional Police Officer, Mr. Sunday Digha (SP), a human right lawyer, Barrister Pius Madaki and a Briton, Chief (Mrs.) Ann Medekong. The three awardees were presented with their awards at the HAPSTA 2013 International Conference held at Roseboom Hotel and Resorts, Eket on Saturday 17th August 2013.

One of the recipients of the award, Mr. Sunday Digha on behalf of other awardees thanked the members of the organisation for the honour done them and promised to continue to be committed to the betterment and progress of the human race. 

Also speaking at the occasion, the Project Director of the organisation, Mr. Adeyemi Ademowo who presented the awardees with the plaques explained that although, the awardees are not humanists but their activities which are in line and promote the organisation’s vision of a world free of human rights violation are recognised to encourage others who are suitably positioned to render such humanitarian services.

Scholars Question Religiosity at HAPSTA Conference

---participants urge Human Rights Education promotion

The important positions human rights occupy in the quest for development in Africa have been recently emphasised. This was reiterated on Saturday 17th August at the 2013 HAPSTA International Conference held at Roseboom Hotel and Resorts, Eket where scholars converged to discuss Africa’s quest for development in the 21st century. 

At the conference with the theme ‘Superstition, Human Rights and Development in Africa’ organised by the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA), issues pertinent to development were examined by scores of scholars from various institutions who presented papers bothering on pervading superstition and prevalent human rights violation at the face of notorious religiosity in the continent. Some of the scholars argued that religiosity should be played down if development is to be sustained in Africa.

Presenters at the conference include Dr. Essien Essien Daniel, Dr. Hassan Bello Ann Medekong, Adeyemi Johnson Ademowo, Umoh Umoh, Barr. Pius Madaki, Akpan Promise Asuquo,  Ediomo-Ubong E. Nelson, Adegoke Peter Damilola, Diana-Abasi Ibanga, Abdul Hassan Bello, Anthonia Essien, Ayobami Ojedokun, Elegbede Babatunde, Anthonia Essien, Osagbemi Olumide, Temidayo Oladipo, Uchechukwu Ilo, George Ogbonna Mbarah and Tola Layode.

In all, the conference can be adjudged to have made the projected impact because new ways of combating the witchcraft menace were discussed and it affords like-minds the opportunity to meet for the sake of secularism, human rights and development in Africa

HAPSTA Increases Staff/Volunteers’ Capacity to Fight Stigmatisation

Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) upped efforts to fight superstition and eradicate the stigmatisation of children accused of witchcraft by expanding the frontier of knowledge of her staff and the alert volunteers at a training which took place at the CRARN/HAPSTA Transit Centre Eket on Friday 16th August 2013. The staff and the alert volunteers were trained on strategies of sensing and identifying dangerous situation(s) threatening to the life and wellbeing of the children.

According to one of the organisers of the training, Mr. Ayobami Ojedokun, the need for increasing the capacity of the personnel is expedient at this time due to the changing patterns of child abuse and witch labeling observed in recent times; therefore, the volunteers needed to be kept abreast of time in order to understand the changes. The training had in attendance trainers who are social workers, experts in science education and scholars in the field of culture; among whom are Adegoke Damilola, ’Tola Layode, Adeyemi Ademowo, Oladipo Temidayo among others.

The annual staff/alert volunteers training is funded by HAMU, Norway.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013


Speakers include:

Ann Medekong 
AdeyemiJohnson Ademowo
Umoh Umoh
Barr. Pius Madaki, "Legal Incuberances
Akpan Promise Asuquo
Yomi Ogunsanya
Ediomo-Ubong E. Nelson, et. al
Adegoke Peter Damilola
Diana-Abasi Ibanga
Abdul Hassan Bello
Ayobami Ojedokun
Elegbede Babatunde
Essien Essien Daniel
Osagbemi Olumide
Temidayo Oladipo
Ajigboye Oyeniyi
Uchechukwu Ilo

George Ogbonna Mbarah
Anthonia Essien

Tola Layode
Moruff Mudashiru

Date: 16-17th August, 2013

Venue: Roseboom Hotel and Resorts, Eket/Oron Road, Eket, Akwa-Ibom State

Time: 9:00am - 6:00pm

Participation is free!
In conjunction with CRARN, Eket
Sponsored in full by HAMU, Norway (including the book that will be published afterwards!)

Thursday, August 1, 2013

O’HAWK Town-Hall Meeting Kicks Off In Ekiti

The HAMU supported project – Omuo Humanist Against Witch-Killing and Stigmatisation (O’HAWK) of the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA) kick started its series of town hall meetings with the people of Omuooke-Ekiti and the Kota-Ekiti Youths. The enlightenment meetings tagged ‘Safeguarding Human Rights and Addressing Superstition for the Sake of Development’ were successful as they bore immediate fruits.

As the people of Omuooke-Ekiti celebrate the new yam festival with the traditional breaking of new yam by his Highness, Oba Valentine Otitoju, on Tuesday 30th July, 2013, the members of the community were enlightened on the need to protect ‘accused witches’ rights as failure to do so retards development. The people of the town who gathered in large number at the palace of Oba Otitoju were sensitised on human rights, evils of superstition and the quest for development in modern Nigeria. The message generated debate among the people as they were divided on the ‘supposed rights of accused witches’, however, the enthusiasm showed by some of the audience who volunteered to partner with the organisation on the promotion and protection of the rights of accused persons testifies to the optimism that the meeting would go a long way to affect the orientation of members of the community positively.

Earlier on Monday 29th July, the youths of Kota-Ekiti, a neighbouring community that shares border with Omuooke-Ekiti, were enlightened on the same subject by members of the organisation. The youths numbering about fifty four (54) at the NURTW Hall, Kota, the venue of the Youth Town Hall meeting questioned the appropriateness of allocating any rights to accused witches and the protection of such when the ‘accused witches’ are perceived as enemies of the good people of the community. Their question was however answered by bringing to their understand, the fundamental issue that the ‘accused witches’ are primarily human and so has the rights as every other humans regardless of what they are being accused of, and hence, their rights must be guaranteed and protected.

The youths who at the end of the enlightenment meeting showed appreciable understanding of the universal allocation of rights exhibited their understanding by volunteering. The meeting produced five (5) volunteers.

As a testimony to the success of the meetings, Major E. K. Ogunsakin (rtd), an indigene of Araromi Quarter in the area and a man considered as the custodian of “peoples’ rights” met and discussed with members of the organisation and promised his full support for the organisation on the project.

- By Seun and Babatunde (O'HAWK)