Childhood in Nigeria
After being feted in Britain for exposing the appalling abuse of children accused of being witches, a Nigerian charity is apparently being intimidated by its own government. The headquarters of Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), which works with the British fund Stepping Stones Nigeria, was raided by a group of men claiming to be police officers earlier this month…These shadowy figures then went on to beat children kept in the care of the charity after they protested against the intimidation…It has since become apparent that the police were accompanied by a lawyer from Lagos, Gary says. This is the same lawyer who has been representing Evangelist Helen Ukpabio in the law suits that she has filed against CRARN, Stepping Stones Nigeria and Channel Four since the broadcast of the internationally acclaimed documentary film – Saving Africa’s Witch Children. Stepping Stones allege the police, conspiring with Ms Ukpabio, have created a trumped-up charge of fraud to frighten Sam and his colleagues and stop their life-saving work.
Stepping Stones Nigeria does not wish to denounce any faith organisation. However the role of the church, especially some of the new Pentecostals, in spreading the belief in child witches cannot be underestimated. There are numerous so-called pastors in the region who are wrongly branding children as ‘witches’ mainly for economic self gain and personal recognition.
Helen Ukpabio apparently being one of the worst.
Supporters of Helen Akpabio stormed the Calabar Cultural Center today with the intent of disrupting a child’s rights conference being sponsored by Stepping Stones Nigeria and the Nigerian Humanist Movement. The crowd of over 150 fanatics stormed into the hall chanting religious slogans and intimidating the small crowd, which they outnumbered by more than 5 to 1.
A very pretty story all around.