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Police disrupts witches, wizards conference in Makurdi

By Florence Ugbem

The Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Benue State Command, Saturday stormed the venue for Alleged Witches and Wizards Seminar and commanded all participants to vacate the premises.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches Seminar which was slated for 9:00am today at the Greenbelt Hotel, Akpehe road in Makurdi, Benue State, was besieged by officers of the NPF, who asked all participants to vacate the premises immediately.

Speaking with journalists outside the hotel premises, the Director, Advocacy for Alleged Witches, Dr Leo Igwe, explained that the seminar was a campaign movement against the persecution of people, men, women, children and the aged in the name of witchcraft.

“The event is a way of raising awareness about this problem that is perversive, we don’t need it to be perversive before we begin to raise awareness,” he maintained.

Dr Igwe, who is a humanist and anti-witchcraft activist revealed that recently in the state, there was a case where a woman, who was alleged to be a witch was almost killed. He said the incident prompted the organisation to hold the seminar in the state, so as to enlighten the people, in order to minimise prevalent cases.

He, however, added that he had sent notification to the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) and Commissioner of Police, International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) and National Humans Rights Commission (NHRC) in the state to inform them of the seminar, in order to address the problem and create awareness, but rather the event was disrupted due to misinterpretation of the event.

“Surprisingly, this morning, here at the venue, we saw over 20 police officers or more they said they have been authorised to stop the event, that this is a meeting of witches, and it’s a security breach,” he narrated.

He expressed shock over the cancellation of the event, stating that it was not a secret event, having sent fliers and notification via social media platforms to invite people for the event.

Dr Igwe also lamented the time and resources put into organising the event, he however, was optimistic that all issues will be resolved so that the seminar can hold at a later date.

About four (4) Police hilux vans with police personnel where seen around the premises of the hotel.

Newsmen, lawyers, representatives of FIDA and NHRC were seen leaving the premises on Police orders.

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches is a human rights organization that fights for the rights of people. Its goal is to use compassion, reason, and science to save lives of those affected by superstition.

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