2 Dec 2008

Nigerian State Governor warns churches against labeling innocent children witches

AllAfrica.com - December 2, 2008

by Okon Bassey

Lagos — Hard time now await churches and spiritual homes operating in Akwa Ibom State that engage in torturing people mostly children and forcefully compelling them to confess or admit to being party to witchcraft.

The State Governor, Chief Godswill Akpabio, who made the declaration weekend at the maiden annual teachers' award for excellence, a private initiative of Inoyo Toro Foundation, held in Uyo, said reports had it that some churches label innocent children witches and subject them to severe and inhuman conditions including torture.

THISDAY Checks revealed that the state government's stand and action on the churches may not be unconnected with current documentary being shown on a television station in the United Kingdom on how children from the state were tortured by some churches and forced to confess to being witches.

Governor Akpabio, who frowned at such actions and activities of some of the churches and pastors, vowed that the state government will address the development squarely to check the excesses of some of the churches.

He insisted that henceforth, the state government will not hesitate to destroy or demolish any church engaged in any negative and unproven vision in order to satisfy their clients.

"We will destroy and demolish every church that is engaged in any stupid vision in Akwa Ibom State. We will not stop there, we will have to make examples out of some people. We will chase out some churches in the state which are found wanting.

"The churches are busy deceiving people in many aspects including avoiding deaths. We have to do something to re-strengthen the Child Right Law. We must fight against the abuse of children and ensure proper education for them," he said.

"The church will torture children and some of the churches will pretend to use oil to try and remove witchcraft from a child. So far we have we have 165 children some of them are not up to 9 months old who have been thrown away by their parents because the church said those children will bring them misfortune", the Governor lamented.

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