The Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AfAW) condemns the ritual attack and abuse of a child in Kano, in northern Nigeria. According to a Facebook post by one Na-Allah Mohammed Zagga, an elderly woman has been arrested in Kano “for conniving with a teenager to gouge out the eyeball of an innocent street beggar(almajiri). The teenager approached this aged woman to help him with the powers to disappear anytime he likes. She told him to get a fresh human eyeball as one of the ingredients needed to prepare the medicine. He went for a vulnerable victim and a poor almajiri”.

As Zagga rightly noted “Superstition is holding us back. Our people still believe in imaginary powers. Why does a teenager need the powers to disappear anytime and anywhere he likes? Why should an elderly woman be so cruel as to request for the eyeball of an innocent person for the preparation of the medicine?”

These are indeed very thoughtful questions and valid concerns. Unfortunately, these sentiments have not succeeded in weakening the grip of the primitive beliefs on the minds of Nigerians, nay Africans. The fact that these horrific abuses continue illustrates the potency of these irrational beliefs and their stranglehold on the minds of people across the region. This incident further shows that abuses linked to ritual beliefs know no faith; they are not restricted to people from a particular region or religion. 

The occurrence of ritual attacks is a stark demonstration of moral and educational failure. As Mohammed Zagga states: “This incident also highlights the vulnerability of the almajiri. The life of the almajiri is a life of uncertainty and danger. The almajiri is at the risk of being recruited by terrorists or being killed by wicked people looking for human body parts for spiritual purposes. Allowing your child to become an almajiri in the street is grossly irresponsible. It’s criminal to produce children you can’t provide for and abandon them into the world to fend for themselves”. 

AfAW enjoins all Africans to advocate against witchcraft accusation and witch persecution in their communities. Africans should understand that there is no medicine that can make any human being to disappear and reappear. Such notions are baseless and mistaken ideas of the world rooted in ignorance and fear. Africans must realize that no ritual sacrifice of human or animal can change the fortune of anyone for good or ill. They should resist the manipulation and exploitation by charlatans parading as medicine men and women. Africans should abandon these absurd and nonsensical ideas and beliefs that motivate them to commit atrocities. They should endeavor to draw attention to all cases of abuses linked to witchcraft or ritual beliefs in their communities. Meanwhile, AfAW is working to provide some support for the child victim. Anybody who knows how and where to reach him should contact AfAW immediately.

Leon Igwe,

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