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Funmi Iyanda
Lagos, Nigeria
Funmi Iyanda is a multi award-winning producer and broadcast journalist. She is the CEO of Ignite Media and Executive Director of Creation Television
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Monday, October 13, 2008

Murder in His name

By Pamela Braide

The recent accounts of child abuse perpetuated in the much maligned name of God leaves me incandescent with rage and wanting to inflict bodily harm, lynch mob style. Recently the child witch saga climaxed for me with the raping to death of an 11 yr old girl submitted to a pastor BY HER OWN MOTHER for cleansing of witchcraft. The man left all alone with this girl raped her over days until she died and he fled. Her corpse was found with blood seeping from her vagina. I cannot find the link to the Nigerian daily that reported this but I will scan and put it up shortly.
I can imagine that all this pedophile had to to do was point out a witch child he was lusting after amongst his congregation and the idiotic parent would hand them over unsupervised for any length of time for this demon to rape to his hearts content.

I don kolomental finish!

When in heavens name did chaining children, flogging with wires, rubbing pepper on them, starving and burning become acceptable because some evil demonic charlatan claiming to be anointed by God labeled them witches?

When did we lose our humanity? The abuse and murder of children under the cloak of religiosity has got to stop! Why oh why do religious leaders in Nigeria shy at taking the lead in tackling matters they can have the most impact in solving? If the church is used as a cloak for child abuse, and murder in a way that is even making international headlines shouldn't leaders create a plan to shut down these evil ones masquerading as persons of God?
What is my government doing?
What are we doing?

Last year a journalist from the UK actually came down and did a documentary in Akwa Ibom about these shameful trends.

One thing that struck me was how quick parents and guardians are to believe unscrupulous so called persons of God who tell them their kids or wards are witches. Witches who are responsible for all their bad luck. Of course they prey mainly amongst the poor. In our new culture of blame we attribute our problems not to our selves our bad leaders but to supernatural powers. Nothing is our fault. Taking it to the most vulnerable we can work out our frustrations on seems to be the next step. It used to be old people now we need to add children to this sad mess. At least some outraged people were struggling to care for the cast off kids that survived.

The parents now allow the demons to be cast not through the usual means of prayer but with brutal beatings, starvation, shackling in chains and other atrocities that often leave children dead or damaged for life. I actually heard of a case in Calabar were the neighbours in 'a face me I face you style' compound reported the parents and the pastor to the Police.

We are all guilty of letting this continue. I have a neighbour whose little sister is so painfully awkward in company it is disturbing. She keeps her eyes down when talking and always looks scared. I recently found out her back is a mess of scars administered by her own sister because she has been fingered as a witch by her church. She is beaten regularly, forced to fast and endure untold abuse.

In such cases all parties should be cautioned first then if necessary arrested, named, shamed and made to face the law.

The Police should stop treating abuse as a family matter.

It is a criminal offence.

If you feel a child is a witch then pray for them.

I cant recall reading that Jesus tortured any person he delivered let alone a child.

I have had conversations with people I formerly felt were normal trying to rationalize what they felt were acceptable levels of punishment for witch children. People who fail to understand that they have contributed to all the murders and the rape of that poor 11 year old girl.

Sadly the few Nigerians active in fighting these injustices are overworked, unappreciated, under funded and undermined by our hear no evil, speak no evil attitudes.

What do we do?


Onyeka said...

That is disgusting and heart-breaking. Such things almost make me want to lose all hope in humanity.

The problem we have in Nigeria, and it's the truth, is that there isn't enough done to sex offenders. If anything.

Too many times we hear hush-hush stories of our person A molested girl B, and how person A's family paid off/begged the girl's family to keep it quiet, or how girl B's family told her to keep it to herself.

There's still too much taboo wrapped around paedophilic behaviour that people would rather cover it up ... unless it leads to death like the ones mentioned. And also, I guess it doesn't help that we have a horribly flawed legal system and an excess of illiterate offenders/victims who honestly don't know any better.

I'm also sick of these twisted being posing as pastors and preying on the hearts and minds of poor people. Frankly, I hope there's a special place in hell reserved for such people.

I'm angry. There's so much ignorance and poverty out there, and yet our leaders are there with their swollen pot bellies arguing over who will get the opportunity to steal more millions...

In a proper society, children shoulnd't have to be caught up in this mess, they shouldn't have to be out there on the streets in constant danger or held in the line of fire for fake pastors.

God help us.

aloted said...

men this is so so sad...

we perish in Nigeria due to ignorance...

i am short of words. I just hope the govt and even families will do something about this...

Femi B said...

All lawyers want to go into oil and gas practice..no one wants to be a human rights lawyer , there is no money in it. Some even say it is better and more efficient to practices human rights for nigeria outside nigeria. Only then would you be funded and be able to do something

Osama Young O. Iyawe said...

The truth of the matter is the average Nigerian needs a re-orientation on what is ethically and morally acceptable. So many anormalies are now the norm.

The level of selfishness in the land now, is beyond comprehension. This mentality of " it did not affect my own so life goes on" is wrong.

What action is going to be taken against this so called minister of God (pastor indeed)? This further raises issues about the state of the Church & relgious institutions in the country and our Ministers of God. Where are the Elijahs? The Elijahs who will not be afraid to call Ahab to order.

If we are to see responsive postive change towards such situations in future, our laws and thier execution must be totally refined.

I rest my case for now.

joicee said...

Wow...just wow

This is disheartening ..just to say the least...Ignorance is a DISEASE. I hope we do realise that someday.

Hopefully one day we will get off the religious bandwagon and begin to use our heads.

Tony said...

I blame our justice system for all this evil. If such criminals are made to face the just reward for their barbaric act, others will shy away from such crimes.

Unfortunately, we rarely hear about any of them being thoroughly prosecuted in such a way that will serve as lesson to others.

The parents or guardian of this unfortunate girl have questions to answer too.

ChiefO said...

the evil that we hide behind religion...

im tired of these people who once you talk against what their spiritual leaders say they are quick to bring out the "evil unbeliever" card. whatever he or she says is law. i know of someone who donated the family house to the her religious organization cos spiritual leader said, "if u give one house to the lord, he'll replace it with 10" without the consent of the husband.

people have refused to think for themselves, they sit and wait for "devine" intervention or in this case they dont think at all and allow their "spiritual leaders" do the thinking for them aka dupe, 419, blackmail, intimidate, brainwash, enslave them.

Sherri said...

that is just sickening!
i hope the mother is charged too.

how do u protect children in a society that glorifies pedophiles?

lucky said...

I almost cried when reading the story, to see this evil still been practice i this 21st century
It is funny to see people still believe this old lies that beating and other related punishment can drive a way evil spirit.......

To be frank the woman and the man in question should be made to face music for this evil act

Anonymous said...

So rape is now the treatment for witchcraft? Interesting...... it's so sad that even women, mothers will believe anything some "monster" who is trying to claim spirituality comes up with. So sad.

wavemasta said...

I remember watching something on channels TV in 2006, I think. A young boy was set ablaze in benin city, with the police watching. His offense? He was purported to have "fallen" from the sky. I kid you not.
They interviewed the juju priest who spearheaded the lynching, and his own reply was "Who asked him to fall down from the sky?"
My Dad and I were dumbfounded.
This kid was so thin and emaciated we felt he had either HIV or TB. The people leading him to be burnt supported his arms with sticks, and the police/army cleared a space for the "execution".
Religion has changed from being all about a personal relationship with God, to something used to blind the minds of people, especially Nigerians, and used to perpetuate all kinds of evil.
The Americans and foreigners who brought Christianity here, who have some of the most fundamental Christian movements, have never reported lynching someone because he was suspected a "witch"..not in this day an age.
So sad!!

Itsme! said...

I don't know what to say...

Na God go help us.

People in high places instead of helping the less privileged even compound the problem by abusing the fundamental rights of others.