Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW), a group that is seeking to end the persecution of alleged witches, has petitioned the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC).
The group petitioned the NHRC over a proposed Christian event promising to rescue families from witchcraft.
The event titled ‘Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets,’ is being organised by Evangelist Helen Ukpabio and her Liberty Gospel Church.
However, the group described the event as a recipe for rights abuses in Cross River state.
AfAW in the petition addressed to State Coordinator, NHRC, Cross River State, signed by its Director, Dr Leo Igwe, which was made available to SaharaReporters on Friday, said the event has some criminal intent.
It added that any programme with the intent to accuse or impute witchcraft should be restrained before it wreaks any havoc.
The petition reads, “I am writing on behalf of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, an organisation that campaigns to end witch persecution in Nigeria to lodge a complaint about a proposed event, Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets, of Evangelist Helen Ukpabio and her Liberty Gospel Church. The event will be held on October 5 to 9 2022 in Calabar.
“As explained in this article, the event has some criminal intent and could fuel human rights abuses in Cross River state. Witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law. So it is important to restrain any individual or group, or stop any activity with the intent to accuse, or impute witchcraft as this proposed program by Ms Ukpabio and her church has indicated.
“As you may be aware, cases of witch persecution, attack and killings in Cross River have been linked to the activities of Ms Ukpabio and her church, and other witch hunters who openly advertise, stage and hold programs where they make witchcraft imputations (in this case in families), identify witches and exorcise witchcraft. Programs like this event on Rescuing Families from Witchcraft Markets valorize witchcraft beliefs, and incite people to suspect, maltreat, attack or kill family members in the name of witchcraft.
“At a time when Cross River state is witnessing killings and attacks linked to witchcraft beliefs, it is necessary to take measures to prevent witchcraft accusations, witch identifications and persecutions. The Advocacy for Alleged Witches urges you to use your good office to restrain Ukpabio and her church from going ahead with this witch-hunting event.”