Benue Urged to Halt ‘War Against Witchcraft’ Amidst Rising Concerns

Belief in witchcraft is common in many African communities. Pictured here are smoking pipes retrieved from a shrine in Kibuli, Kampala.
Belief in witchcraft is common in many African communities. Pictured here are smoking pipes retrieved from a shrine in Kibuli, Kampala.

Introduction: In a stark plea to the authorities of Benue state, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches has called for immediate action to prevent a potentially devastating event scheduled for this Sunday in Makurdi. The Rain of the Spirit Ministry plans to host a gathering titled “War Against Witchcraft,” igniting fears of incitement and violence against innocent individuals in the community.

Concerns Raised: The Advocacy for Alleged Witches has urgently appealed to law enforcement and government officials in Benue to intervene and shut down the planned event organized by Daudu(Jnr) at the Rain of the Spirit Ministry’s premises. According to a statement issued by the advocacy group, the event threatens to exacerbate witchcraft fears, stir panic, and potentially lead to breaches of peace within Benue communities.

Inflammatory Rhetoric: Daudu’s Facebook announcement of the event explicitly calls for a “war” against witchcraft, promising attendees liberation from alleged tormentors. Such rhetoric, the statement argues, not only perpetuates unfounded beliefs in witchcraft but also endangers the lives of innocent men, women, and children by stoking fear and inciting violence.

Legal and Human Rights Perspective: Leo Igwe, representing the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, highlighted the legal ramifications of such an event. He emphasized that witchcraft accusations are not recognized under Nigerian law and that imputations of witchcraft constitute criminal offenses. The advocacy group asserts that allowing the “War Against Witchcraft” to proceed would effectively sanction vigilante justice and undermine the rule of law.

Historical Context and Ongoing Abuses: Benue state has a troubling history of witchcraft-related abuses, where suspected witches often face brutal attacks, torture, and even murder. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches contends that these abuses persist due to a lack of enforcement of existing laws against witchcraft accusations and the impunity enjoyed by witch hunters like Daudu.

Call to Action: In light of these grave concerns, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches implores Benue state authorities to take decisive action to prevent the “War Against Witchcraft” and other manifestations of witch-hunting culture. They call for the enforcement of laws protecting citizens from witchcraft accusations and the prosecution of individuals inciting violence under the guise of religious or spiritual practices.

Conclusion: As the scheduled date approaches, the plea from the Advocacy for Alleged Witches serves as a poignant reminder of the urgent need to safeguard human rights and uphold the rule of law in Benue state. The organization urges authorities to act swiftly to prevent further atrocities and protect vulnerable communities from the scourge of witchcraft-related violence.

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