Woman accused of witchcraft petitions SGBV panel gets N300,000 compensation

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National Human Rights Commission’s Special Investigation Panel on Sexual and Gender-Based Violence (SGBV) sitting in Yola, Adamawa State. has awarded a compensation of three hundred thousand naira (N300,000) to a woman who was accused of being a witchcraft

A son of an indigent woman who was accused of alleged witchcraft has testified before the panel on how his mother was subjected to torture, cruel inhuman, and degrading treatment for purportedly being a witch.

The complainant who spoke in the Hausa language told the panel how it all started in the church, where the pastor of the church claimed to be praying and suddenly got a revelation that his mother was a witch.

Continuing, he said the people in the church were also mentioning her name and saying “she is the only one that can set them free”. He said this informed the pastor of the church to offer his car for the victim to be brought to church.

The complainant said on getting to the church, the mother was tortured, beaten to a stupor, injured, and stripped naked for alleged witchcraft, cultism initiating children and some members of the community into witchcraft.

Narrating further, the complainant said on seeing that the issue has escalated, the pastor claim he made a way for the victim to escape and later taken to the hospital by her family members

According to the complainant the pastor has also accused the victim of being responsible for his wife’s death and also rendered his present wife barren which he the pastor also claimed the victim confessed to.

Similarly, a witness before the panel also said that the victim was responsible for the death of his father and his two brothers including a cousin.  The witness said the victim had confessed to killing the innocent aforementioned people and when he (the witness) asked her what he did to deserve the killing of his family members her response was “it is the work of the devil”.

Surprisingly, a lot of people from the community including her blood brothers are willing to testify that she is truly a witch. The witness also told the panel that from 1996 till date no natural death has occurred in the community alleging that all the deaths were caused by the victim.

The heartbroken young man said his mother has been suffering stigmatization and several forms of harassments in the community for the ordeal which his mother knows nothing about urged the panel to intervene

The Executive Secretary National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu Esq. who also doubles as the Chairman of the panel told the witnesses that according to the law of Adamawa states, “anyone practising witchcraft has violated the law and therefore should be handed over to the police and not parade the person publicly or inflict any form of injury on the person, not even a mere suspicion”, He pointed out.

The panel ruled that the respondents should be investigated for alleged false accusations and offences relating to torture inhuman and degrading treatment of the victim. However, the victim will also be investigated for alleged witchcraft under section 187 of the Adamawa state penal code 2018.

Meanwhile, the panel also ruled that the sum of three thousand naira (300,000) be paid by the respondent to the victim for the cost of treatment incurred as a result of injuries inflicted on her by members of the community. The commission will further make a formal complaint to the commissioner of police to investigate the matter.

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