A friend comes in nick of time that they are needed most – that one person that speaks out when others think they are not close enough to intervene. Sometimes we found that friend/s within the family, other times it is an outsider who recognises humanity we all share that tells us what others would rather be quiet about.
Accusing fellow Nigerian of being a witch is still very common both in our cities and small towns. It only takes one person to voice out their narrow bigoted views, then it goes on from there.
The most irritating one was of young children, they are the most vulnerable and yet those who are ‘unlucky’ to be disabled are outright labelled as witch that deserved to be tortured to death by own family, orchestrated by bible carrying prophets.
That friend, for the 3 year old ‘Hope’ from Akwa Ibom wasn’t any of the neighbours or Nigerians for that matter, it was a Danish aid worker Anja Ringgren Lovén who refused to look the other way, she helped safe the little boy’s life.
Nigeria, when it comes to beliefs in witchcraft, is a pretty messed up place, in all of our regions we have our poisons that is eating us alive. In Yorubaland, it is girls and women that usually get accused of witchcraft, in the East it is their boys that’s their enemies – what a world.
Often this accusations is backed up by bible quotes and often the accused are disabled or that something happened in the family and because we just have to blame someone, then we picked on the most vulnerable people around – young child or elderly.
Southern Nigeria is home to most of the country’s christians – they are going to drive us all to heaven and yet the most vulnerable ones amongst us are being tortured by own kind – God is in heaven shaking his head.
Centuries after the Europeans have moved on from witch hunting their own kind, Nigerians are knee-deep into it. Centuries after the Europeans have managed to separate state from church – my people are still knee-deep, wasting millions of $s on religion instead of developing ourselves.
I suppose my people are super loyal to those that introduced the religion to the country – when will our own enlightenment arrive?
A fellow Nigerian who was saddened by this event sent the link a couple of weeks ago, he thought Nigerians need to talk amongst ourselves to move away from this primitive attitude. I told him he was mistaken if he thought the enlightened ones are not aware of this, of course they were but why should they care when their families are not directly affected?
I am thankful to the Danish lady, Anja Ringgren Lovén who took on Hope’s case, glad that the poor boy is responding well to treatment. Happy that good people of the world donated to help Hope, I am sure there are local people involved in this process too so thanks to them.
Here is Hope’s photo when Anja met him on one of Akwa Ibom roads. My people
tend to feel offended by ‘grim’ photos, oh well, this one is worth copying, I think.
Thankfully, the world is growing smaller by the day, many more people in Hope’s shoes will be saved.
Most upsetting bit here is the deafening silence of our our people.