Witches And Wizards Invited To UNN For Open Discussion As University Holds First Conference On Witchcraft In Nigeria
By Iwedi Ojinmah 2 months ago
The University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), is set to make history in Nigeria. It will hold the nation's first conference on witchcraft scheduled to take place between November 26 and 27.
Entitled “Witchcraft: Meaning, Factors and Practices,” and convened by Professor B.I.C Ijomah of the Centre for Policy and Research Institute it is bound to have tongues wagging.
The former vice-chancellor of Benue State University is scheduled to be the keynote speaker, while both the university’s vice-chancellor, Charles Igwe (above), and the director of the Ijomah Centre, Egodi Uchendu (below) are designated to be hosts.
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While many may be scratching their heads as to the purpose of this convention an educated guess would infer that it is the university’s drive towards deepening people’s understanding of the subject matter that is the purpose.
As we know Nigeria is a very spiritual country and peppered with various religions, some out in the open and some murkier and on the down-low.
While churches and mosques dot the skyline of our towns there is hardly any city where there is no fetish related practices otherwise called ‘sacrifices’ prepared to appease the gods, witches or wizards. They are placed in some corners or major road T–junctions, places of interest or worn out in the open as shown (below)
Nigeria even has an association known as the Witches and Wizards Association of Nigeria (WITZAN) where members speak on national issues. The association was endorsed by former President Goodluck Jonathan before the 2015 general elections so any further denial would be moot. ( For more on WITZAN click here )
There is no doubt that many will be in attendance when the doors open on the 26th to champion their cause and explain that being a witch or wizard does not automatically mean you are in cahoots with the devil as believed notably in Africa, the African Diaspora, and other Indigenous communities.
Here the term witchcraft is commonly associated with those who use metaphysical means to cause harm to the innocent.
In the modern era, primarily in western popular culture, the word may more commonly refer to benign, positive, or neutral practices of modern paganism, such as divination or spellcraft. As we know, several Pentecostal pastors have mixed their evangelical brand of Christianity with African beliefs in witchcraft to benefit from the lucrative witch finding and exorcism business—which in the past was the exclusive domain of the so-called witch doctor or traditional healers.
These pastors have been involved in the torturing and even killing of children accused of witchcraft. Over the past decade, around 15,000 children have been accused, and around 1,000 murdered in the course of "exorcisms" which is a big moneymaker. So you only need to add 2 and 2 together to know why and how these beliefs are nurtured.
Having said that, lets now get to the meat and the potatoes of our story, namely the need to call for tolerance across board nation on all subjects.
We say this because only intelligent discussions and debates like what UNN is about to do will educate the general population's better understanding regarding the for a mentioned subject in a country that is so gullible and set in its ridiculous beliefs such as snakes swallowing millions of naira and a monkey carting off just as much.
This better understanding of matters that are strange or foreign to us is only fostered by such courageous attempts as the one being put forward by UNN and rather than chastise the institution, we should applaud it.
Nigeria, as we know, has the highest number of out-of-school population in the world today with 13.5 million children who are out of school. If they can't come to school and get an education, we must bring education to them and this is a classic example where myths could be busted and fact separate from fiction if we could hear the conversation from both sides. Just look at Ghana were true spiritual freedom of expression exists and they understand that not everything outside the realms of Christianity and Islam is demonic. Tell me that last time Ghanaians went to war, fought internally or killed each other for a belief? This is because they live and let live.
But that's not the only example after all the South African Minister of Higher Education and Training, Blade Nzimande in 2017 announced plans to have witchcraft included in the curriculum from 2018.
Fallacies and fables such as how witches fly around on brooms and as bats and seep the blood and life out of unsuspecting infants can only be debunked with such discussions and the proper root cause, in this case, Sudden Infant Death Syndrome that occurs all over the world, be properly identified and named as the true culprit. Our youth and general population need to know that the reality on African Magic is imaginary.
A supposed witch not able to fly back home before sunset is caught on a roof in Nigeria
While we must all agree that witchcraft as a serious topic today is only relevant in countries that have failed to provide basic social services, as well as infrastructural amenities for their people allowing their poor to believe in almost anything, it is time to get real. Sadly, the majority of these countries are in the developing world with most being in Africa
The time has come for Africans to engage their brains and do the right things that will make life more comfortable to them, instead of blaming God, witches and wizards for their lack of planning and failures. The debate at UNN will hopefully reveal the real witches and wizards in Nigeria. Our failure are all consequences of poor governance and being gullibly led by the nose into believing in utter rubbish and not being proactive.
Mercifully UNN is trying to change the narrative and be, as it always has, a true agent of change.