Just So That We May Not Forget – Gani Fawehinmi and Child Witchcraft

by Olusegun Fakoya

Just so that we may not forget in these days of unofficial mourning for the man of the people who has continued life’s struggle on the celestial plane. So that we may not forget that Gani Fawehinmi in his life time bequeathed on us a legacy so hard to fill yet to so easy to follow and sustain. Nigerians should not forget, that though his life was cut short by those who took so much pleasure in jailing him. Those who felt that he should be jailed simply because other governments did so. Those who not only jailed him but took pleasure in pumping his cell full of toxic gas. Who really knows where the cancer of the lung came from? We should not forget that living is a gift of God and those who callously alter the grand equation have serious accounts to settle with the almighty. While we mourn the painful departure of the voice and conscience of the masses, let us not forget one thing he would have definitely stood for in his lifetime. Let us not forget that Gani Fawehinmi would have confronted oppression and subjugation wherever it existed in our midst. Let us pay tribute and homage to the memory of the great man by confronting a festering social sore in our midst.

Fellow Nigerians, it has been said that it is really not how long but how well a man lived. Let us dedicate ourselves to the memory of the great man by standing to confront the numerous oppressions and insanities in our national life. A great poet, who often ply the rocky roads of an ancient western town in Nigeria, once said that the man dies in him who simply folds his arms in the face of oppression. The courage dies in every Nigerian who merely stand to look in the face of the ongoing madness in the Delta area of Nigeria. That we have allowed it to develop so far is shameful. That we still refused to act to arrest the situation is alarming. The Nigerian child deserves love and protection. The feast of madness currently being perpetuated by deranged preachers of the word in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states must be stopped. The current persecution of the Nigerian child in these states must come to an end.

The phenomenon called Child Witchcraft continues to grow in strength in Akwa Ibom and Cross River states like a bad sore that is at the mercy of maggots and flies. Deranged Pentecostal preachers continue to feature prominently in the perpetration of this alarming social malaise. Attempts have been made by various charity organisations to call attention to this anomaly. Various programmes have been organised to sensitise the Nigerian people. We are living witnesses to the nefarious activities of Helen Ukpabio in trying to counter these measures with various activities, including the use of brain-washed members of her congregation to disrupt organised conferences, the use of members of the Nigerian Police Force to beat up innocent children and deliberate dissemination of falsehood and misinformation through the medium of her Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries website. Helen tried unsuccessfully to absolve herself of the spreading wildfire called child witchcraft, the seeds of which she sowed through her various activities including active preaching, films and home videos and books. The society is still reeling from the effects of the madness of this agent of Mormon.

If anyone think the problem is over, please red this article published by The PM News of September 1st.


This is not an isolated case. Please remember that for every single reported case, hundreds are unmentioned. Only a couple of days ago, Diana Udua, an advocacy officer with SteppingStoneNigeria was travelling somewhere in the heartland of Akwa Ibom state. It is interesting to read her account of the nightmare Nigeria’s hinterland has turned to:


The hands of death has once again rejoiced over what our society terms ‘suffer not a witch to live’, a phenomenon that we are yet to understand the true meaning as implied in the Bible. At about 4.30pm laid a corpse of a young boy (name unidentified) along Enwang road near the main market of the community. I had gone to Mbo to identify contact persons for a community sensitization meeting against child abandonment and abuse owing to witchcraft beliefs.

The shocker of my life was registered when I thought I observed something lying along the road as I drove past on an Okada. Not sure of what it was, we (a volunteer and I) headed for our mission and contacted a few persons in the community to include the Police, a priest and visited the Clan Head’s house with regards to the proposed sensitization meeting. After enquiries from some of the community members who wouldn’t even share information, we decided to get back to the spot to confirm whatever we thought we had seen.

Behold a young boy who wouldn’t’t be more than 9-10 years old laid waste on the road with little or no attention from passers-by. I took a closer look at the child where we wept on the road without control. Our guess was just as right as ever, we decided to get information from the market close by and most of the traders refused to grant us an interview. Finally, a young girl who only came to the market on the said date to visit her mother gave us audience and narrated a story of what she claimed ’she heard but wasn’t too sure of’

The boy had been accused of having killed his mother through witchcraft and had then been tortured by some members of the community as payment for his ‘sin’. On a good look at the boy, you could see through his head from many holes and actually view the skull which I suspected must have been done by his torturers through nails or some other very dangerous instruments.

The most amazing thing is the fact that the boy according to our source, was not dead soon after he was severely tortured, he found route to the market and slept unconscious for about 2 days after which maggots feasted on his wounds and he stank, it was on the said date (7th September 2009) that market traders dragged his unconscious body out to the road for fear of loosing customers due to the stink oozing from his wounds and injuries. It was there on the road, under the sun, with bruises and wounds, hunger and starvation, thoughts and worries that a precious gem who would may have become the visionary leader of his time; this young unknown boy was left to die. Close to the point he laid is a police check point, a little further is the Mbo Local Government Secretariat and a few steps more is the Child Welfare Unit in Mbo. The question I ask is ‘what ever happened to the African pride of togetherness, extended familial support and community belonging’? Are our children now born to suffer? My tears could never have solved anything, I found myself as one man as against many when shouting in the market square against the terrible treatment meted out on the poor boy and who could I go to for justice? No one was willing to listen; I was only considered a mad woman ranting about the market

I may not have direct answers to these questions at the moment, but as we read this true life story, let us ask ourselves what Jesus would have done in our stead if he walked the earth in this time. To as many as believe that child torture is a myth or a medium of siphoning wealth from humanitarians and interested donors, let this story be a testimony a

nd rather convert you to fight child abandonment and torture.
May the gentle soul of my dear little gem rest in peace as I mourn him.

Fellow Nigerians, so that we may not forget, I will re-attach a link once published again:


So that we may not forget. Fellow Nigerians, while mourning the departure of Gani Fawehinmi, let us take comfort and courage from his ideals. Let us imitate his principle of not succumbing to injustice and oppression. Let us rise up as one and confronting a monster roaming our landscape. Let us bring Helen Ukpabio and her cohort to book. The attached link creates an opportunity to express our disgust with the antics of the preachers of doom who are enslaving the people with their obnoxious and outdated teachings. Please express your support!


What do we expect of Helen Ukpabio?

Here, I would re-state a position that has been expressed before and that still remains relevant nevertheles.

What is reasonably expected of Helen Ukpabio and her cohorts is sincere contrition and atonements for their misguided teachings and the untold hardship same has induced amongst innocent Nigerians. Helen Ukp[abio would have done better by apologising to Nigerians in general and the people of Akwa Ibom and Cross River states in particular. She would have won the hearts of many by showing sincere commitments to efforts at restitution. Helen could have done better by encouraging and supporting charities committed to wiping out the evils implanted by her teachings. She could donate to such charities and use her “might” to create an enabling environment for such charities to operate. Better still, Mrs Ukpabio could through her well funded Ministry initiate community-oriented programmes aimed at sustaining, nourishing and enhancing the rights of not only children alike but also adults who have been victimised one way or the other through her misleading teachings. The truth simply is that the world has moved on beyond the arcane practice Mrs Ukpabio gleefully informed us that she spent almost two decades propagating.

What is expected of the Nigerian Government?

The Nigerian government is not expected to fold its arms in the face of the continued persecution of the Nigerian child. We are a signatory to the United Nations convention that guarantees and protects the rights of children. An offshoot of this is the Child Rights Act that was enacted in our country. Evidences abound as to the extent of this evil phenomenon in our country. A state that allows the continued subjugation of a vulnerable arm of its citizenship is not worth being called a nation state. We, therefore, reasonably expect the Nigerian government to mimplement the following:

1/ Urgent in-depth investigations into the activities of Evangelist Mrs Helen Ukpabio and Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries in view of the manifest breaches of the recently enacted Child Rights Act being perpetuated by this person and organisation mentioned. It is deemed illegal under the Child Rights Act to label any a child a witch, yet Mrs Ukpabio continues to do so in direct violation of this act.

2/ Closure of all churches found to be labelling children as witches through deliverance or other methods.

3/ Seizure of all assets and illegal wealth of all false prophets such as Helen Ukpabio and others and the redistribution of such funds to rehabilitate the victims of child witch stigmatisation.

4/ Successful prosecution of all pastors and parents found to be labelling children as witches.

We proudly state that as citizens of the free world, Nigerian children have a right to a peaceful existence without the molestation of false prophets and deranged pastors. We, however, note with sadness that this has not been the case with our dear country. We, therefore, once again, use the medium of this article to call on those in position of authority in Nigeria to wake up and address this insanity in our midst. Helen Ukpabio and cohort must be brought to book!!

A luta continua!!

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1 comment

Tunji Obasa September 9, 2009 - 2:11 pm

Victory ascerta!!

Good write-up. It is indeed a sad period in our national history. The Nigerian government must be seen to be pro-active in tackling the menace of the stigmatisation of children as witches.

Dr Fakoya, I salute thee! Yours is one of the few lone voices in the wilderness. One day, Nigeria shall reach the Eldorado!! More grease to your elbow.


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