Saving Witch Children in Nigeria

In December 2009 I blogged for the first time about the shocking culture of crime in Nigeria, committed against the thousands of innocent children by their parents, family members, and self-appointed prophets, pastors and evangelists. As I am about to bring you to date about the ongoing problem of abuse against innocent children in Nigeria, through the recently recorded interview with Leonardo Rocha dos Santos, an activist with the Brazilian organization “Way to the Nations” that works on saving the “witch” children in Nigeria, let me share first the blog I published at the end of 2009.


Photo by Way to the Nations

In Nigeria beautiful, innocent children, as young as two years of age, are abused, tortured, abandoned, mutilated and killed, all of it in the name of Jesus. Self-styled deliverance pastors, prophets and prophetesses, thirsty for cash in a land stricken by poverty and superstition, have over the past several years branded thousands of children as witches and wizards.

Denounced children are subjected to brainwashing and costly deliverance séances, with the outcomes that require more cash, which most of the time lead to physical and emotional crippling of the children, their abandonment, and frequent violent death induced by parents, relatives or neighbors. These children, stigmatized as witches and wizards, are blamed for all troubles visiting their families, villages and country – from sickness, death, joblessness, financial misfortunes and poverty in the family, to bad harvests and disastrous fishing seasons due to pollution and merciless exploitation of natural resources.

On the one hand all of it is possible in the part of the world where perverted forms of evangelicalism, preaching “prosperity gospel”, and wild deliverance and prophetic cults go hand in hand with animistic superstition, demonism, lack of essential education, spiritual illiteracy and prevailing poverty. On the other hand, this is happening in a country where the government institutions do not seem to have authority in the areas that require justice and protection of people. It seems that none in Nigeria dare bring the heartless spiritual gurus, directly responsible for the deaths and abuse of the thousands of children of their parishioners to justice. No one has been called to accountability, including the infamous prophetess Helen Ukpabio whose movie “End of the Wicked” has excited the latest wave of mad persecution against the innocent children.

Moreover, it concerns and shocks me profoundly that a huge Christian community in Nigeria, that appears to remain within the boundaries of normalcy, is turning a blind eye to the hideous crimes, perversions and abuses of power of the fringe Evangelical leaders that cost lives and dignity of so many children in their country. No Christian church in Nigeria, or their leaders, have stood up against the criminal activities of perverted self-declared ministers and prophets or called them to account, or provided protection for the abandoned and traumatized children.

Well, not quite none. A few brave and sane souls around CRARN, the only center of refuge for abandoned and abused children led by Sam Itauma, and Stepping Stones Nigeria, a British charity that focuses on assisting CRARN in its noble work, led by Gary Foxcroft, and a group of their friends have dared to make a difference. Those people, motivated by the love of Christ for the suffering children in Nigeria, are building shelters for the abandoned “witches and wizards” and are creating the awareness actions directed towards the Nigerian Government and international community. I met one of them, on his way to serve in Nigeria, at the European Gathering in England last weekend. He shared with a group of us attending the gathering the TV documentary “Saving Africa’s Witch Children”, produced by the British Channel 4 Dispatches Production. His request was that we should help making the suffering of thousands of innocent Nigerian children known around the world, as well as to pray for the few who have dared to stand up for the abused children of Nigeria.

I am deeply moved by the suffering of children in NIgeria. Seeing the frightened innocent eyes; severely bitten, burned and otherwise tortured tiny bodies; and the naked bodies of the children abandoned dead next to the dusty roads of Nigeria, was enough to make me more than upset. But my dismay is enhanced by the fact that all this wickedness is done in the name of the One who said – “Let the little children come to me!” (Matthew 19:14.) Such criminal prostitution and perversion of the pure and loving name of Jesus Christ leads me to believe that it is those self-made, greedy and arrogant ministers, prophets and prophetesses who are the real witches possessed by the Evil One in the truest sense of the word.

This is the time for action. At least what we can do is to unite in prayer that the country of Nigeria may be delivered from the clutches of the wicked religious gurus by being called to account, tried and adequately punished. But we can do more, too. Let us stand with those who are already doing a good work in saving the lives of children in Nigeria. Let us also help create awareness about this vicious crime against the innocent – in our churches, political circles, and humanitarian, social and other circles of influence. Let us do everything we can to help stop the abuse of children by the spiritual charlatans in Nigeria.

First published December 9, 2009.

About Tihomir Kukolja

Tihomir Kukolja, born in Pozega, Croatia. Studied, lived and worked in Yugoslavia, Croatia, United Kingdom, Australia and the US. Educated in theology, communications, and radio journalism. Worked as a church pastor, media professional, radio producer and presenter, journalist, religious liberty activist, and reconciliation and leadership development activist. Lives in Houston TX, USA. Until recently served as the Executive Director, Forum for Leadership and Reconciliation (Forum), and Director of Renewing Our Minds (ROM) initiative. Loves photography, blogging and social media.
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