Nigerian Children Accused of Witchcraft Are Cast Out of Society

Filed in Gather News Channel by on August 25, 2010 0 Comments

Witchcraft superstitions in Nigeria are rooted in centuries of tradition. However, within the past 10 years, that belief has led to the abuse and outcast of children who are accused of being witches or possessed with black magic.

Pastors in Nigerian churches tell parents that the children need to be delivered from Satan’s possession, but they require a fee that can range from $300 to $2,000. Poverty, ignorance, and fear combine and lead to the abandonment, torture, or killing of a child. The parents are legitimately convinced that the child could use black magic and do them harm.

Sometimes it is unknown what caused the parents to believe that their child is a witch. It could be because the child has seizures, or talks in his sleep. Another belief is that the children are responsible for deaths in their family. They are cast out into the street and left alone, shunned by the entire community.

Sam Ikpe-Itauma is a Nigerian man who runs the Child’s Rights & Rehabilitation Network, or CRARN. It is an orphanage that takes in outcast children and provides security, health care, nutrition, and counseling. It currently supports nearly 200 children, but it cannot support many more. Unfortunately there are many children who live on the streets, abandoned by their families and society.

NEW YORK - MAY 24: (L-R) Film subject Sam Itauma takes part in a Q&A following the HBO Documentary screening of 'Saving African Witch Children' at HBO Theater on May 24, 2010 in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for HBO)

(Sam Ikpe-Itauma, at a screening of the documentary “Saving African Witch Children.” He runs the Child’s Rights & Rehabilitation Network.)

Local governments are under the belief that CRARN, and other similar organizations, are using the children to run a scam. They are adamant that the issue is being blown out of perspective and that a new Child’s Rights bill has largely taken care of the problem. In addition, there have been some arrests, the government acknowledges, but there haven’t been any prosecutions.

Based upon the video accompanying CNN’s report of this tragic treatment of children, there is obviously a problem. The children shown in the report have scars and injuries as a result of pastors attempting to “deliver” the children from their witchcraft. Some adults cut accused children, sometimes cutting off one of their fingers, and beat them and burn them with hot water in an attempt to “deliver” them from their “evil” ways.

Clearly this situation is not being blown out of proportion, and is, in reality, a hideous example of what can result from ignorance and fear. If only there were more people like Sam Ikpe-Itauma, who is helping as many children as he can.

Photo Source: Flickr, PicApp

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