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AfAW urges Protection for Woman Who Confessed to Causing Occult Harm, Condemns Priest for Post that Validates Witchcraft

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AfAW) urges the Nigerian police to protect an elderly woman who was seen in a video confessing to killing people and causing illnesses in her community. In the video, the woman, who is in her 70s was wearing some palm fronts and surrounded by an angry mob. The woman was accused and coerced to admit to initiating people into the occult world, inflicting someone with a diabetic sore, and killing a one-month-old baby. 

At some point, somebody from the crowd slapped her. It is not clear what eventually happened to this woman. AfAW is deeply concerned because incidents like this usually end in the lynching of the suspected witch. Efforts are underway to ascertain her fate and the whereabouts of the woman. Meanwhile, AfAW enjoins the police, the national human rights commission, the social welfare department, and the general public to join efforts to ensure that this woman if she is still alive, receives care and protection. From all indications, this woman is unwell, mentally unstable, and may be suffering from dementia. Nigerian public should know that dementia is and those who suffer from this health issue confess to doing unimaginable things. 

Meanwhile, AfAW condemns a Facebook post that one Onuoha Peter Jude. In reaction to the video, Jude, who claims to be a roman catholic priest, an educational psychologist, traumatologist, and a success ambassador said: “Wickedness of the highest order. Honestly speaking I laugh all the time whenever some people begin to compare Nigeria, America, and Europe in terms of religion and development. In America and Europe, they encourage your talents. But in Nigeria and some other African countries, some agent of darkness will afflict people with numerous diseases and problems”. He tried to validate the notion that the woman did what she “confessed” to have done. 

He further stated that what the woman claimed to have done was beyond government, science, and technology

“Government cannot cure spiritual problems and attack. Science and technology as some champions cannot solve spiritual problems and attack. Medication cannot cure spiritual infirmities. It is only the power of the Most High God, that can cure this type of thing”. 

Jude tried to defend faith healers and exorcists who valorize these occult and superstitious claims:

“It is unfair to always attack prayers and healing and deliverance ministers and ministries. God has used many of them mightily and He is still using them. People who go for prayers are not faithless. You can only know what these people go through when you are in their shoes”. He claimed that the woman’s case confirmed the reality of spiritual affliction of illness: 

“Just look at this woman in the short video confessing all the evil she has done in afflicting people with spiritual infirmities after she was apprehended. She killed the husband’s father, blinded so many persons, initiated some persons, gave elephantiasis to some, and caused a whole lot of misfortunes for people. Those who under such demonic captivity can only be freed through God’s intervention”.

it is sad that a priest who claims to be educated made this post that drips with ignorance and misinformation about mental health. AfAW enjoins Christian churches to call witch-hunting pastors like Onuoha Peter Jude and other evangelical throwbacks to order. Nigerian churches should draw lessons from the western church and begin to consign witchcraft imputations to the dustbin of history. Ending witch persecution in Africa is long overdue.

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Leo Igwe
Leo Igwe
Leo Igwe (born July 26, 1970) is a Nigerian human rights advocate and humanist. Igwe is a former Western and Southern African representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union, and has specialized in campaigning against and documenting the impacts of child witchcraft accusations. He holds a Ph.D from the Bayreuth International School of African Studies at the University of Bayreuth in Germany, having earned a graduate degree in Philosophy from the University of Calabar in Nigeria. Igwe's human rights advocacy has brought him into conflict with high-profile witchcraft believers, such as Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, because of his criticism of what he describes as their role in the violence and child abandonment that sometimes result from accusations of witchcraft. His human rights fieldwork has led to his arrest on several occasions in Nigeria. Igwe has held leadership roles in the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Atheist Alliance International, and the Center For Inquiry—Nigeria. In 2012, Igwe was appointed as a Research Fellow of the James Randi Educational Foundation, where he continues working toward the goal of responding to what he sees as the deleterious effects of superstition, advancing skepticism throughout Africa and around the world. In 2014, Igwe was chosen as a laureate of the International Academy of Humanism and in 2017 received the Distinguished Services to Humanism Award from the International Humanist and Ethical Union. Igwe was raised in southeastern Nigeria, and describes his household as being strictly Catholic in the midst of a "highly superstitious community," according to an interview in the Gold Coast Bulletin.[1] At age twelve, Igwe entered the seminary, beginning to study for the Catholic priesthood, but later was confused by conflicting beliefs between Christian theology and the beliefs in witches and wizards that are "entrenched in Nigerian society."[1] After a period of research and internal conflict due to doubts about the "odd blend of tribalism and fundamentalist Christianity he believes is stunting African development," a 24-year-old Igwe resigned from the seminary and relocated to Ibadan, Nigeria

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