Advocacy Against Allegations of Witchcraft and Manhood Disappearance in Kogi State

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Mr Garba Abdulkareem the Advocate of the Year for 2023.

Kogi, known as the Confluence state, hosted the Advocacy for Alleged Witches’ the 2023 Advocate of the Year Award ceremony. The ceremony took place at the office of the National Human Rights Commission in Lokoja. The AfAW had no plans of taking their event to this central Nigerian state this year. But something happened.

Two young men were accused of magically disappearing the manhood of a tricycler. They were about to be lynched when some people intervened, prevailed on the mob and saved the lives of these two young men. One of them was a staff of the Federal Road Safety Commission in Lokoja, named Garba Abdulkareem. The coordinator of the NHRC informed the Advocacy for Alleged Witches about this development especially the heroic efforts that saved the lives of the two accused men. The AfAW decided to award its Advocate of the Year to Mr Abdulkareem.

On Friday, November 3, the AfAW organized a small ceremony where the awardee and others who helped save the lives of the accused were honored. Two days before the event, a local radio state, Grace FM devoted a one-hour program to the issue of witchcraft accusation and witch hunting. The lady who anchored the program explained the horrific abuses meted out to women, children, and elderly persons accused of witchcraft. Some listeners phoned in and recounted their experiences and enjoined advocates to take their message to the communities, churches, mosques, and schools. Others noted that no one should deny the existence of witchcraft and malevolent magic.

The award ceremony offered an opportunity to draw more attention to the problem of witchcraft accusation, and the magical disappearance of manhood. It was noted at the conference that allegations of witchcraft or magical theft of manhood target mainly poor, people, and other persons in weak socio-cultural positions. One participant recounted that she was accused of being a witch after over ten years of marriage without a child. Another participant narrated two cases where domestic servants were accused and sent away by families that they were living with. Unfortunately, many accused persons resign to fate. They are sometimes forced to confess and admit to offenses that they never committed. Somebody recounted the case of a young man named Danjuma and his colleague who were accused of disappearing the manhood of someone. Both men were beaten to death and their corpses were burnt. A relative of Danjuma was at the event but declined to recount the story to the participants. He said they had handed the matter over to God!
Many victims and their families resign to their situation out of fear of suffering further stigmatization and victimization. The advocate of the year award was instituted to urge the public resist and not resign to allegations of witchcraft and manhood disappearance.

Thus we at the Advocacy for Alleged Witches are delighted to award someone who displayed courage and compassion. Someone who faced down a mob and stopped the lynching of two fellow human beings accused of magically disappearing or stealing private organs. The AfAW is aware that allegations of disappearing manhood and womanhood have been sweeping across many parts of the country with horrific consequences for the accused. As the police have noted, these allegations are based on falsehoods, fear, ignorance, and superstitions. Unfortunately, people take drastic actions based on these false alarms.

They attack, beat to death, and lynch the accused. So it takes courage to intervene on the side of the accused. It takes heroic efforts to try and save the lives of suspects because such efforts could lead to the attack and killing of any persons who try to stop the mob. In recognition of the unusual courage shown by this individual, we, at the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, hereby award Mr Garba Abdulkareem the Advocate of the Year for 2023.

Leo Igwe directs the Advocacy for Alleged Witches.

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