Nigeria Will Gain From Conference On Witchcraft - Prof. Egodi - THE DAILY CRUCIBLE



Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Nigeria Will Gain From Conference On Witchcraft - Prof. Egodi

• Prof. Uchendu Egodi; convener of the conference

Despite protests by Christians groups - the Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN) and Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria(PFN) in South East of  Nigeria, the maiden Witchcraft conference began in earnest on Tuesday at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka(UNN), Enugu State, with  the organisers giving insight into the rational behind the conference and how Nigeria could benefit  from it.

The conference enters its second day today and  is organised by B.I.C Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies and Research, University of Nigeria, Nsukka headed by Egodi Uchendu, a professor of history and international studies in UNN. 

In her welcome remarks, Prof. Uchendu said the conference would help to examine  and  “critically evaluate” the belief in witchcraft and ascertain what impact it has on the Nigerian society.

She said Nigerians have for too long skirted or glossed  over witchcraft as an issue, and yet it has persisted,  stressing that people regularly "pray against witches and wizards.”

She explained that a university system has a duty of help in “setting up the ideological imprint of a people.” 

According to her,  the B.I. C. Ijomah Centre desires to be a flagship research centre to “provoke intellectual reflections that guide the shaping of thoughts and the development of a pro-positive developmental mindset in Nigeria and Africa” as the centre isn't cut out for pre-determined doctrines

She said: “Apart from rumours about witchcraft, can we intelligently discuss the phenomenon of witchcraft? Can we delineate its evolving dynamics, especially in regard to human and societal development? What does belief in witchcraft symbolize for civilians, the military, politicians, scholars and others?

“This conference, therefore, seeks to ‘determine amongst other things the intelligibility of witchcraft’, the principles that underpin it and the impact it has on human life, society and progress,” she said.

“Many men and women in different parts of Nigeria have been treated badly in 21st Century Nigeria because of witchcraft-related accusations.

“Last week, a priest of the Catholic Church recounted that one of his step-mothers was burnt alive on account of witchcraft accusation. A young woman, seeking for a casual job, in an office in the University of Nigeria, had her case thrown out because she had shared that she was accused of being a witch by a family member; the then Head of Department would not consider her plea for the job on hearing of this accusation.

“Similar examples of this abound all around us. Not to mention the fact that charms and charmers have been included in both the arsenal and the medium for publicly contending with banditry in a state like Zamfara and Boko Haram under the guise of the Joint Task Force. This, perhaps, may be anchored on the thesis by the Chief of Army Staff that, I quote “Boko Haram and the likes cannot be defeated by kinetic military warfare alone.

“The fact that this matter has persisted in our society up to the present day is evidence that the strategy of prayer, alone, is not enough to combat the challenges of belief in witchcraft.” 

From Mariam Yomi, South South Bureau, Asaba

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