Nigeria govt, States told to stop citizens from burning old people, ‘witches’

Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has condemned burning of old persons and alleged witches or wizards in some Nigerian communities.

The President, Senator Eze Ajoku, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Abuja that perpetrators must be prosecuted.

He decried incidents where Thomas Obi Tawo (aka General Iron), an aide to the Cross Rivers State Governor, allegedly led some thugs to set ablaze “witches” in Boki Local Government Area.

Similarly, in Ikere Ekiti, a 77-year-old woman was mobbed and murdered on the grounds of being a witch and the corpse dumped in a stream.

In Agulu, Anambra, an 80-year-old woman labelled a witch died after she was allegedly pushed to the ground by anti-cult operatives.

COSROPIN urged the federal and state governments as well as relevant agencies to commence probe of the senseless killings.

It called for the protection of the older persons “who have been stereotyped as witches or wizards by bringing to book perpetrators of the burning”

The coalition said some of the culprits “are appointees of governors, and we cannot watch them evade justice by hiding under executive cover”.

Ajoku observed that older persons of rich and influential children are never accused of witchcraft.

He said the attackers target the poor, struggling and lonely old people that “need assistance and palliatives at this hard time instead of being called out as witches.

“Do the perpetrators know the health status of these old people, whether they are suffering from Alzihmers or Dementia. What do they know about old age-related ailments to call them witches?”

Ajoku told the government to start taking care of the aged by establishing old peoples homes.

“We have this same scenario playing out with abandoned children. They should be absorbed into orphanages. Nursing homes should be provided and paid for by the government”, he advised.