Humanist anti-witchcraft campaigner Leo Igwe 'brutalised' in police custody

Humanist anti-witchcraft campaigner Leo Igwe 'brutalised' in police custody January 16, 2011

AN on-going campaign of intimidation against Nigerian humanist Leo Igwe took a sinister new twist when Igwe, a representative of the International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) in West Africa, was beaten up while in police custody.

Leo Igwe
Igwe, Director of the Centre for Inquiry in Nigeria who has been bravely campaigning against religious leaders and their supporters who stigmatise children as “witches”, was arrested earlier this month by the police in Akwa Ibom State. His arrest is thought to be part of a campaign by state Governor Goodswill Akpabio to clamp down on activists involved in the rescue of children accused of witchcraft.
Akpabio, according to this report, had vowed to jail the activists for bringing his administration into disrepute over the campaign against the harmful traditional practice, which violate the rights of children in the state.
Later it was reported that Igwe, following numerous calls to the Nigerian authorities by concerned human rights campaigners around the world, had been released, with the police claiming that his arrest ad been the result of “mistaken identity”
Igwe said after his release:

It was a terrible encounter ….  my hands were tied behind me and they beat me mercilessly. My head was swollen … I was kept incommunicado and had no contact with either my family or my lawyers.

He added:

During my interrogation I discovered that my case was worsened by the fact that I was an anti-witchcraft advocate; they kept saying that I was a fraudster making money from the child witch phenomenon, so it was funny for them to say that it was a case of mistaken identity.

Governor Akpabio had promised to make life uncomfortable for NGO’s working on children’s rights in the state when he ordered the arrest of Sam Ikpe-Itauma in a radio broadcast last year. Reacting to a report aired by CNN on the child witch situation, the Governor reportedly promised that “heads will roll”.
Igwe, along with Sam Ituama, who runs a homeless shelter for rescued child “witches,” has been working tirelessly against child abuse in Akwa Ibom State.  Their successful campaigns have exposed the depth of the harmful practice in the state.  But it has also pitched the activists against the state Governor, who recently accused them of “corruption”.
In 2009 Igwe was assaulted by supporters of a lunatic Pentacostal “witch-hunter” Helen Ukpabio. She and her church, the Liberty Foundation Gospel Ministries, have run a campaign of terror against children and those committed to fighting for their rights. The conference had been organised by the Nigerian Humanist Movement and the UK charity Stepping Stones Nigeria in response to the widespread abandonment, torture and killing of children branded as “witches” in Akwa Ibom and Cross River State.

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  • sailor1031

    Mike Judge and “birdshit” Green think they are the ones being persecuted. They should spend one day living Leo Igwe’s life!

  • AngieRS

    Worse, they should spend one day in the life of one of those kids.

  • Angela_K

    I expect the real reason Leo Igwe was arrested is because he has exposed the money making scams of Helen Ukpabio and her loony religous clan. The usual whining “persecuted” christians in the UK are rather silent about this.

  • Leo has written his own account of the arrest and brutalization now. it’s here:

  • Broga

    The usual approach of the faithnuts is to replace reason, debate and an open minded examination of the facts with repression, torture and murder. They demonstrate a lamentable opinion of their god if they think he will be taken in by this nonsense. They seem to think that a superficial acknowledgement of their superstitions, by a victim being tortured, is acceptible.

  • Alan

    I imagine that the Police will have received a nice big pay off Helen Ukpabio and her cult. These evil bastards should be in prison. Pastor Matthew Ashimolowo is another one. Based in London he makes a fortune of the gullible from his megachuch and has his own show on God TV. He used to be a Muslim but must have seen there was more money in the Christianity business. Sadly these two people are not loonies they are clever con artists in the style of Elmer Gantry. I bet they don’t believe a word of what they preach

  • Last week I saw a decent film on DVD called Black Death (Dir. Christopher Smith) which powerfully depicted the superstition-pickled, savage lunacy of witch-hunting. It was also set in 1348. Bravo Helen Ukpabio, thanks to you and your kind the last six-and-a-half decades of Mankind’s advancement might as well not have happened for some.

  • NeoWolfe

    I read the account on the link you posted. Apparently, the photographer bribed someone for a set of handcuffs instead of cloth bindings. He was likely dissatified with his purchase soon after. One can clasp his hands together behind his back, and it feels quite comfortable, but spend significant time in that position, progressive pain occurs in your shoulders, to the point of excrutiating agony. That’s why it’s a favorite police tactic, because it seems counterintuitive that handcuffs really are torture.
    BDuke has put the exclamation point on what I have been saying. That there are friends, freethinkers out there who do not call themselves atheist. And, you are just shooting yourself and the movement in the foot by calling us trolls.

  • barriejohn

    What “movement” NeoWolfe? I don’t belong to any “movement” now! The mere fact that you have to keep raising this entirely irrelevant point, and attacking me personally when I haven’t even posted comments myself, just proves what a complete troll you actually ARE!! I’m on the verge of abandoning this site, as others seem to have done now.

  • Newspaniard

    Time to cancel all Independence agreements on the African continent. The locals have totally failed. Corruption is endemic. Send in the gunships and Labour party supporters. No, that probably won’t work. How about stopping all but food aid? Nope, that’s confiscated by the governments for their own larders. Ok, just nuke the lot. Nope, they’ll just go to the UN brandishing their Victim Cards demanding compensation and immunity (after they have made further deposits into their Swiss bank accounts, of course). That’s me out of ideas. Given some of the above comments, it’s up to you and me now, Barry.

  • Broga

    And me. That’s three of us.

  • Mike

    You guys looking for solutions? Keep doing what we are doing, education, education, education, education, education, education, education, education, times n, until everyone understands what human rights are and why it’s a good thing.

  • Broga

    I think you are on the right track about education. I suggested this myself somewhere or other and was told I was wrong because religion/faith obscured even the effects of education. However, my experience is that education leads to reading, writing and analysing. I know many of my friends, including some from very religious families, who decided from reading and discussing that they could not swallow the religious message any longer.
    The majority of scientists are atheists. I think that it is likely that many educated clergy, including bishops, are atheists but they are also hypocrites who want to keep their status and jobs.

  • NeoWolfe

    Bjohn said:
    “What “movement” NeoWolfe? I don’t belong to any “movement” now!
    I stand corrected. I thought the movement was “freethought”. A call to humanity to abandon superstition and embrace secularism. To reject prejudice, and adopt tolerance. To recognize mythology for what it is and declare your independence. My mistake.
    Fitting though, that on the birthday of Martin Luther King, you are put to shame by a baptist minister. He gave his life, and changed the complection of the world.
    You: A “Humanist” goes to war, at risk to his life to enlighten his fellow men about the superstition of witchcraft, and like you have treated me, you refuse to recognize him as a fellow soldier in the same war. Now, who’s the troll?

  • NeoWolfe

    Broga said,
    “I think that it is likely that many educated clergy, including bishops, are atheists but they are also hypocrites who want to keep their status and jobs.”
    I don’t know if the history channel is available in the UK, but I often watch their studies of bible writings, and interviews of educated clergymen. One must consider how the network chooses it’s guests, but, I have never heard one that takes the bible literally. One is left wondering, what is the glue that keeps them stuck to the scam. I think you are probably right, job security.

  • barriejohn

    Fuck off, NeoWolfe – and this time I mean it!

  • barriejohn

    BTW: For any who might be interested, Leo Igwe is an atheist, but I would never capitalize on that fact. I see no reason why an atheist cannot be termed a humanist as well, though I prefer to call myself a rationalist, but that’s just a personal preference.
    There is no god(Allah). There is no devil. There is no heaven. There is no hell. There are no spirits, no angels, no demons, no witches or wizards. There is no life after death. Human beings have no immortal soul. The Bible is not the word of god. The Koran was not revealed by Allah. The holy books were written by human beings. Jesus is not the son of god. Jesus is not the saviour of the world. Jesus did not rise from the dead. Jesus did not ascend into heaven. Jesus is not coming again. Rapture is not taking place. Mohammed was not sent by Allah. Mohammed did not ascend into heaven in a flaming horse. Praying is like talking to somebody who is not there. Jerusalem is not a holy land. Mecca is not a holy land. Eternal bliss is an illusion. Religion is superstition.
    These are truths. These are truths every human being should know. These are truths that should guide us. There are truths that should government the world.

  • barriejohn

    More of Leo Igwe’s writings here:

  • barriejohn

    And Helen Ukpabio’s philosophical views can be found here:
    Our Vision is to help liberate mankind from every yoke and bondage of the enemy through teaching of God’s word in a clear and direct way and exposing the works of the devil and his deceptions in these last days.. Through the dynamic leadership of Lady Apostle Helen Ukpabio.
    Liberty films deliver the truth of the Gospel in a fresh and exciting way and has led to the deliverance and salvation of many. Our books and publications also enhance this message of deliverance and hope to all those in the clutches of Satan.

    For some strange reason I suddenly feel quite nauseous!

  • barriejohn

    PS Here are some verses from 1 Corinthians which the delightful Mrs Ukpabio also seems to have missed:
    Let your women keep silence in the church, for they are not permitted to speak; but they are to be submissive, as the law also says. And if they want to learn something, let them ask their own husbands at home; for it is shameful for women to speak in church.

  • NeoWolfe

    I was sick yesterday, so I didn’t log on. I liked this, Bjohn said:
    “Fuck off, NeoWolfe – and this time I mean it!”
    Obviously his diplomacy escapes him again. Even though he claims to have never used such language in his life.
    I read the entire line of posts as you listened to yourself impress yourself, but, what I missed was the part where he claimed that the universe was an accident. The other things you mentioned make him much more like me than you. Sorry you wasted all that work pissing in the wind.

  • barriejohn

    I’m sure that it would be extremely gratifying for Leo Igwe to know that he is “more like NeoWolfe” then me! PMSL!!