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Nigerian Advocacy Group Urges Protection For Old Woman Brutalised, Dehumanised By Mob For Alleged Witchcraft

At some point, somebody in the crowd slapped her, when she was asked who killed someone. Immediately, she said she committed the alleged offence.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW), a group fighting to end witch-hunting and witch persecution in Nigeria, has decried a viral video.

The group decried the viral video of an elderly woman confessing to have killed people and causing illnesses in her community.

It called on the police and other security agencies to protect her.

A video seen by SaharaReporters on Friday, shows as the woman believed to be in her 70s with palm fronds covering her body was 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 in the crowd slapped her, when she was asked who killed someone. Immediately, she said she committed the alleged offence.

It is not clear what eventually happened to the woman.

However, reacting to the video, AfAW expressed deep concern over the incident, noting that such incidents usually end in the lynching of the suspected witch.

AfAW in a statement issued by its Director, Dr. Leo Igwe, asked the police to ensure that nothing happens to the woman, adding that efforts were underway to ascertain her fate and whereabouts.

"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," he said.

Igwe described as condemnable a Facebook post by one Onuoha Peter Jude who claimed to be a Catholic priest, applauding the treatment meted out to the woman in his 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," he said.

Reacting to what the Catholic priest said, Igwe noted, “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," he said.

He added, "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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