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.