NIGERIAN POLICE, BENUE COMMAND INVADE SEMINAR ON ‘WITCHCRAFT BELIEFS, PERSECUTION OF WITCHES’, CHASE AWAY ATTENDEES
OPERATIVES of the Nigeria Police Force have reportedly invaded a seminar venue on “witch persecution” which held on Saturday in Makurdi, the Benue State capital.
The executive director of Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfWA), Dr Leo Igwe, confirmed the police invasion in a media release on Saturday, describing the action of the police as unacceptable more so when the Commissioner of Police in the state was duly invited for the programme.
Igwe disclosed that all the attendees from various human rights organisations and civil society organisations including the National Human Rights Commission personnel who were seated at the time of the invasion seated chased out of the venue.
Titled: “Police stop seminar on witch persecution in Makurdi,” the statement partly read:
“The police have invaded the venue of the seminar on “witch persecution” to be held today in Makurdi, Benue State. At least 15 police officers who arrived in five vehicles are at the venue, Green Belt Hotel in Makurdi.
“The DPO of the area, Daniel Ezeala, said they had been instructed to stop the meeting and urged every attendee to vacate the venue. Another officer said that they got some intelligence that witches were meeting at the venue.
“AfAW invited the CP to the event. Attendees including delegates from the NHRC and FIDA have been told to leave the premises of the event. Discussion is ongoing to resolve the matter.
“AfAW is embarrassed by this development. It is unfortunate that a meeting convened to address human rights abuses linked to witchcraft beliefs is disrupted by law enforcers in Nigeria.”
“Superstition and religion are being used to keep Africans in the dark. Too often, young girls and aged women are accused of witchcraft, ostracized and abused and even killed. We saw T.B. Joshua physically assaulting a little girl on television a few years ago, accusing the little girl of being a witch. It is a shame that the police will act so swiftly to disrupt this meeting but are always nowhere to be found when criminals gather in our neighborhoods”.
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