Leo Igwe is a Humanist and Executive Secretary of the Nigerian Humanist Movement.
He recently returned from a conference run by the British Humanist Association, having also given an interview about superstition in his country to the BBC. He was ready to attend a conference he helped organize on “Child Rights and Witchcraft.”
The conference took place in Calabar, in southeastern Nigeria. It’s an important topic because accusations of witchcraft could (and have) lead to the accused being killed.
As the conference began, 150-200 religious protestors raided the conference and started disrupting the proceedings. Chaos ensued.
Leo’s glasses were broken and his bag, phone and camera were stolen. It took 90 minutes for cops to arrive.
Speaking after the event Leo said: “The conference was a peaceful meeting for people to openly debate what could be done to prevent the abuse of child rights linked to the belief in witchcraft. This attack by Helen Ukpabio’s supporters once again highlights the depravity of this so-called “woman of God”. Such false prophets should be immediately arrested and prosecuted under the child rights act”.
Who exactly is Ukpabio? Barry Duke points out:
… Helen Ukpabio has played [a role] in spreading the belief in child “witches” in South-Eastern Nigeria. Teachings offered by Ukpabio in her book, Unveiling the Mysteries of Witchcraft, includes:
A child under two years of age that cries at night and deteriorates in health is an agent of Satan.
It’s fortunate that Leo is ok. Hopefully, the resulting media attention will allow him to spread his message of rationality, that there are no actual “witches” or “curses” and those who believe so are simply wrong.