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Coronavirus pandemic and witchcraft imputations in Africa

Filed under: Special Comments |

By Leo Igwe 

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) wishes to inform the African public especially those in regions and communities where allegations of witchcraft are pervasive that the spread of the coronavirus has no connection with witchcraft. People should be on alert and report any suspicion or ascription of witchcraft and occult harm linked to the pandemic. Existing research has shown that at a time of so much stress and uncertainty regarding the nature of an ailment, people are inclined to panic and be swayed by misinformation that spiritualize the cause, spread and cure of the disease. People are vulnerable and are likely to be manipulated by unscrupulous self-styled godmen and women. People tend to impute witchcraft or demonic forces and engage in witch hunting or demon hunting as a way to contain the virus.  

AFAW urges people across the region to desist from making reckless allegations of causing occult harm and taking irresponsible measures which would lead to harm, abuse and killing of innocent persons. The notion that a pandemic such as the coronavirus spreads through witchcraft is baseless and mistaken. People should contact appropriate medical centers in their various localities for advice and assistance if they notice any symptoms. They should not direct their complaints to shrine priests, pastors and mallams and other religious healers who use prayers and other spiritual, ritual and witchcraft-based measures to manage diseases. All religious healers who are approached or contacted for assistance should direct such persons to competent medical agencies for necessary support and assistance. AFAW wants to draw the attention of the public that at a time of great panic and anxiety over the cause, spread and cure of a pandemic, even orthodox medical practitioners including doctors and nurses impute witchcraft or demonic forces. People are advised to be wary of such unprofessional and unethical medical practices and only adopt evidence-based measures in managing and containing the coronavirus pandemic.

Leo Igwe is the chief executive officer of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AFAW)


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