Witchcraft is known to be as old as 40,000 years and is traced to the act of people worshiping nature.it is the oldest religion on earth and has been transferred from generation to generation.
Believe in witchcraft however have survived even till date in primitive societies. Because of the poverty and ignorance in most Africa countries , many old superstition still survive till today.
Witchcraft is frequently used to explain away unpleasant circumstances such as sudden death, Miscarriages, illness, unfortunately, in such society women and children are mostly branded as witches.
Historically so many women and children has been stoned to death, burnt alive and even banished from the community. So many women and children have been intimidated and subdued for fear of being accused as witches.
In a world dominated by men, it is convenient to use ”witchcraft” as a tool to strengthen men’s control to women
In contemporary society, women are no longer confined in the house they now meet the men in work places thereby reduces the influence of male dominance .This has given women a voice and seems to reduce the notion that every adverse situation is a wicked Act of a witch who must be a woman.
Pentecostalism in Africa has introduce another twist on the issue of Children accused of witchcraft.
These children are believed to have evil powers which they can use to destroy homes, bring about business failure, accident. Etc.
Pastors who are so desperate for fame and material wealth are now the people championing the accusation of children as witches. Many of these children are forced into prolong religious fasting some are flogged and tortured in a bid to extract false confession among the children who fails in these group are mainly domestics helps who bears this brunt when the economic situation of the employers deteriorate and they become scape goat.
Most times, when people possess special, uncommon or unexplainable characters and attribute it is often misconstrued to witchcraft.
This Act of attributing every uncommon behaviours to witches is often propagated by self-styled pastors and preachers in Nigeria, gullible and vulnerable parents and guidance are quick to toe the line of these pastors. The community will therefore not have any choice but to queue up in the same believe.
It is very painful how beautiful and innocent Children are stigmatized, abandoned and tortured by pastors and relatives who are quick to brand them as witches. These tragedy is most common in the South South part of Nigeria, Akwa Ibom and Cross River state precisely. It is difficult to phantom the offences these innocent children have committed .A closer look at all the children who are accused of being witches indicate that they are mainly children from poor homes. Is it now a crime to come from a poor home? Can’t children from rich homes equally be witches? Another question that might come to mind is why is this disastrous event peculiar to Cross River and Akwa Ibom State?Akwa Ibom and Cross River State are not the only state that we have children from poor homes.
It is on record that more than 15,000 children have been displaced and some sent to early grave for the mere accusation of being witches.
Child traffickers and ritual killers have equally catch in on these children who are forced out of their homes on the allegation of being witch craft fall prey to human traffickers and ritual killers as they are not adequately protected by government.
Other Agencies in the society like Churches, Media houses and Movie industries that should discourage and preach against this ugly situation often times are involved in propagating it. The media and movie industries are in such sensational event to make more profits while the churches sees it as an avenue to enrich themselves.
Several movies even those produced by pastors are geared towards making people believe that children from poor homes in Akwa Ibom State are witches.
Most children from poor homes in Akwa Ibom and Cross River are given out as domestic helps in different parts of the country are most vulnerable to this accusation.
These young children, often times, cry continuously at night because they are missing their parents and as such run temperature. The notorious pastors and evangelist are quick to label such children as witches.
In spite of child Right Act which was signed into law in 2003,nothing much has been done to alleviate the suffering faced by these children. All the right enshrined in the Act are still been denied of the children.
Parents should know that Children are gifts from God and they add no sorrow .We should learn how to love and protect them. The upbringing of every child is a responsibility that God has bestowed on every parents .And understand, Witch Craft is an organization /Religion that are meant for Adult. It is a voluntary Organization. So it is wrong when you accuse your child of being a witch. Parents that brand their children as witch, are also witch because those Children are their offspring. People should learn how to take responsibility for their failure and short coming.
Let us remind these self-styled pastors ;In( Mark chapt.9;14-29) how Jesus told His disciple to treat the issues of Evil SPIRIT .He said ( It is only through prayer).even if these children are indeed possess with Evil Spirit they should pray for them and not to condemned them to death
I plead with the Federal Government to pay more attention to the numerous problems facing these children and set up a Regulatory body that will monitor the activities of this self-styled pastors and parents that are bent on wiping out this generation by branding children witches.
My thanks goes to all Non-Governmental organizations, Individual, co-operate bodies. sincere Religious organization who has fought tirelessly to bring back hope to children who has been victims of these STIGMATIZATION, ABANDONMENT, TORTURED,RAPE ETC.
Children should know they are created for a special purpose. Sometimes, the devil uses some people to pull you down. We all know the story of Joseph in the bible (Genesis chapt.37;24) .the good thing is he came from pit to palace. So as a child no matter what anybody is doing to pull you down remain focus have a direction and God will see you
JANE KALU OKEREKE