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AfAW Applauds Launch Of Guidelines On Elimination Of Witch-hunting



Witch Burning, Impunity And Abuses Linked to Witchcraft Beliefs In Benue State
Dr Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) has commended the proposed launch of some guidelines on the elimination of harmful practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks. This launch will be organized by the Pan African Parliament in collaboration with the UN Independent Expert on the Enjoyment of Human Rights by Persons with Albinism, Ms. Muluka-Anne Miti-Drummond, and the Centre for Human Rights, the University of Pretoria on March 15, 2023.

In a statement by the Director of AfAW, Dr Leo Igwe, he recalled that in 2021, the UN General Assembly passed a resolution urging member states to take all necessary measures to ensure the elimination of harmful practices amounting to human rights violations related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks. The UN asked countries to ensure accountability and effective protection of all persons particularly persons in vulnerable conditions.

“While this resolution was addressed to all UN member states, it is evident that the states in question are mainly member states in Africa because it is in Africa that most of these violations take place. Africa is a region that still grapples with the problem of witch hunting. The AfAW is delighted by this initiative to step down this resolution and make it relevant to the African situation and circumstances. The AfAW welcomes this effort to transform and translate the resolution into a mechanism to address the problem in the region. African countries face peculiar situations that colonialism, the advent of Christianity, and Islam have further complicated. Witch hunting has social, economic, political, cultural and religious aspects and the guidelines must address these specifics or they would be of no relevance”,Igwe said.

He added: “Practices related to accusations of witchcraft and ritual attacks have strong religious, traditional, Christian, and Islamic connections. As a matter of faith, many African traditional religionists, Christians, and Muslims believe that alleged witches do the harm they are accused of doing. They believe that attacks, killings, abuses, and maltreatment of alleged witches are justified. In addition, there are traditional, Christian, and Islamic religious experts who claim to have the power to identify and exorcise witchcraft. These religious professionals engage in witch-hunting as a form of religious service to the communities. Witch hunters operate with impunity across the region. The guidelines should contain steps to weaken the grip of witch and ritual beliefs on the minds of Africans. The guidelines should outline mechanisms to hold witch hunters accountable and responsible for their crimes. The legal situation has contributed to the persistence of harmful practices linked to witchcraft accusations and ritual attacks. Although witchcraft accusations and witch-hunting are against the law in many African countries, these legal provisions are seldom enforced. Many Africans regard these legal provisions, introduced during the colonial era and adopted as a part of the national laws at independence as western and inconsistent with African norms and values. There have been calls and recommendations to repeal these laws and introduce provisions that criminalize witchcraft. In some African countries such as Cameroon and the Central African Republic, the law criminalizes witchcraft. The guidelines should suggest ways to address this complicated legal situation.

” Furthermore, the witchcraft accusation is a public health issue and shows the decadent health infrastructure and appalling state of health care programs in the region. Africans use witchcraft narratives to make sense of public health challenges such as diseases and death. Often witches are held responsible for various ailments, including malaria, heart attack, and HIV/AIDS. They have been accused of causing accidents and other misfortunes in families and communities. The guidelines should contain some health-related angles that address those gaps that Africans use accusations of witchcraft or ritual attacks to fill.

“Lastly, the guidelines must address the human rights of those who identify as witches and ensure that steps are taken to protect their rights as human rights. The launch of these guidelines signals hope for the realization of a witch hunting-free Africa. The AfAW envisions an end to abuses linked to witchcraft accusations and ritual attacks in Africa by 2030. This launch will help realize this important vision and objective.”

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BREAKING: Fire Guts Supreme Court



A wing of the Supreme Court on fire on Monday morning.

A section of the Supreme Court complex in Abuja, was gutted by fire on Monday morning.

It was learnt that the fire, which started around 7am, caused panic among staff members of the court who scampered to safety.

Though no human casualty was recorded, however, it was not clear whether sensitive documents and files were destroyed by the early morning fire at the court situated at the Three-Arm-Zone, Abuja.

It was learnt that the fire might have been caused by electrical malfunction in one of the offices within the administrative wing of the court.

The source confirmed that three offices, including that of Justice Mohammed Saulawa, was touched by the fire before it was eventually put off.

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Abiodun Pays Tribute To Alaperu’s Late Wife, Harps On Enduring Legacies



Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun

Ogun State Governor Dapo Abiodun has extolled the exemplary virtues of the late wife of the Alaperu of Iperu, Olori Kehinde Idowu Basibo-Odoru, describing her as a strong pillar for her husband and a unifying factor for the entire royal family while alive.

The late queen was born on April 23, 1962, and passed on at the age of 61 on 27th July 2023. Her funeral and thanksgiving service was held on Friday at the St. James Anglican Church, Iperu.

The governor, in his remarks, expressed his heartfelt condolences to the royal father, Alaiyeluwa, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, and the people of the town over the loss, as he prayed for necessary fortitude to carry on in her absence.

He recounted the enviable attributes of the late Olori while alive as bold, lovely and supportive; with passion to help those around her, adding that she would be sorely missed by her immediate family, the entire town of Iperu and Ogun State in general.

“On behalf of the government and the good people of Ogun State, I want to express my heartfelt condolences to my brother, the Alaperu of Iperu, Oba Adeleke Idowu-Basibo, on the passing of his adorable wife.

“The late Olori was a friend and reliable companion to her husband till death. She was also a doting mother to her children. We are going to sorely miss her; may the good Lord repose her soul,” Abiodun said.

The governor counselled the congregation on the need to be fair to all in all ways while alive, to leave worthy legacies after death as exemplified by the late Queen.

He continued: “Life is a journey; we all have our exit points. We have no power over that, it is inevitable. What is important is what we do while we are here, what type of tribute would be written about you when you are no more.”

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BREAKING: Govt Increases Salaries Of University Lecturers, Others



Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamma

In a bid to improve the lot of tertiary education, the Federal Government has increased the salaries of the lecturers and non-academic staff in the nation’s public universities.

The increase was approved by the National Salaries, Wages and Income Commission.

This includes payment of a newly approved percentage increment in salaries for academic and non-academic staff of all Federal Government’s tertiary institutions in the country.

This is as the percentage increment for junior staff of tertiary institutions was raised from 23.5% which was reviewed last year to 25%. Our correspondent gathered that the arrears of the increment from January 2023 will also be paid.

Though nothing was said about the withheld salaries of the academics and non-academics who embarked on strike in 2022, it was learnt that the Minister of Education, Professor Tahir Mamman, earlier wrote the Chairman of the NSIWC, Ekpo Nta, to demand the status of the collective.

According to sources within the Ministry of Education, the decision of the minister to write the NSIWC might not be unconnected from visitations by some of the academic unions and intervention by some pressure groups.

When asked if polytechnic lecturers were aware of the new development, the National President of the Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics, Dr. Anderson Ezeibe, said that the union heard of the news and were looking forward to the implementation.

“Definitely, we heard of it and we are looking forward to it. There will be 25% increment for junior lecturers while chief lecturers and professors will benefit from 35% increment,” he said.

The National Vice-President of the Academic Staff Union of Universities, Prof. Chris Piwuna, disclosed that such a letter would be addressed to the management of universities and not ASUU.

A letter by the Chief Executive Officer/Chairman of the NSIWC, Eyo Nta, which was addressed to the Minister of Education on September 14,2023 shortly before his departure to the United Nations General Assembly in New York
tagged ‘RE: Implementation of the 35% and 23.5% salary increment for staff of tertiary institutions,’ reads: “I refer to your letter No. FME/IS/UNI/ASUU/C.I/IT?/90 dated 8th September 2023 in respect of the above-subject. Find attached the circulars pertaining to the four salary structures in the Universities, Polytechnics and Colleges of Education for your information (attached).

“The 23.5% earlier reflected in our letter SWC/S/04/S.149/I/59 of 28 July 2022 and stated in paragraph 2 of your letter, has been increased to 25% which accounted for the increased cost implications. This Commission is really pleased with the success your informal discussions have achieved. We shall endeavour to support all your efforts aimed at repositioning the Education Sector. Please accept the assurances of my warm regards.”

Consequently, the commission proceeded to issue a circular also dated September 14, 2023 and addressed to the Chief of Staff to the President, Femi Gbajabiamila, Office of the Head of Civil Service of the Federation, Office of the Accountant General of the Federation among others informing them of the implementation of the newly reviewed salaries.

The circular reads: “ The Presidential Committee on Salaries at its 13th meeting having taken into consideration the various stages of collective bargaining in various sectors, and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions, and consequent upon the Federal Government’s approval, as well as 2023 budgetary provisions, approval is hereby conveyed for the revision of the Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for academic staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January 2023.”

Also, a letter from the Office of the Auditor General of the Federation dated September 21, 2023 which was made available to our correspondent on Friday in Abuja confirmed the increment.

The letter which was signed on behalf of the Director, Human Resource of the office, Ajanaku F.O reads, “I am directed to inform you that the Presidential Committee on Salaries at it’s 13th meeting having taken into consideration the different stages of collective bargaining in various sectors and specifically engagements between the Federal Ministry of Education and Tertiary Institutions-based Unions and consequently the Federal Government’s approval, is hereby conveyed as revised for the following:-

“Consolidated Polytechnics and Colleges of Education Salary Structure for Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education with effect from 1st January, 2023.

“Consolidated Tertiary Institutions Salary Structure II for non-Academic Staff of Federal Universities, with effect from 1st January, 2023.

“Consolidated Tertiary Education Institutions Salary Structure for non – Academic Staff of Federal Polytechnics and Colleges of Education, with effect from 1st January, 2023.

“Consolidated University Academic Salary Structure II (CONUASS II) for Academic Staff of Federal University with effect from 1st January, 2023.”

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