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Leo Igwe Topics




Child Witchcraft Accusations in Ivory Coast

by Leo Igwe

Ivory Coast is one of the countries in Africa where belief is witchcraft is widespread. A Gallup Poll found in 2010 that up to 95 percent of the populations believed in “sorciellerie” – the French word for witchcraft. This means that witchcraft is more or less a ‘national religion’. Almost everyone in the country thinks as a matter of fact, not fantasy that witchcraft is real in its conception and consequences, that people can harm others using mystical means.

Full Story...



Media and Critical Reporting of Traditional Medicine Claims in Africa

by Leo Igwe

African traditional medicine is widely perceived as a form of voodoo medicine, as a survival of some stone age pre-modern illiterate formation that still functions and fulfills medical purposes for Africans. This is, at least, how many anthropologists have viewed the subject. They have argued that African traditional medicine is unlike ‘western medicine’, and then go on to establish how witchcraft and magic is embedded in this ‘unique’ medical practice. African medicine men and women are portrayed as witch doctors - as if the traditional-medical profession is about treating and curing witchcraft.

Full Story...



Atheism in Zambia - skeptical, rational thought in a very superstitious country

by Leo Igwe

Like other countries in Africa, Zambia is a very religious nation and has the dubious of distinction of being officially declared a Christian nation by President Federick Chiluba in 1996. One need not look far to see where Chiluba got the political will to establish this Christian nation. Eighty seven percent of the population is Christian and only twelve percent profess other faiths. The number of non-believers is too low to measure. Apparently, Zambia is 100 percent religious and theistic.

Full Story...



African Development: Is Kicking Out Christianity and Islam the Answer?

by Leo Igwe

I state right away that I do not think “Kicking Christianity and Islam out of Africa” is the Answer. Why do I believe this will not lead to development in Africa?

Full Story...



Albino Killings and Humanism in Malawi

by Leo Igwe

Four persons suspected of murdering an ‘albino’ have reportedly been arrested in Malawi. They allegedly abducted an ‘albino’ man from his village, killed him, removed his body parts and buried them in a riverbed. These horrific murders which have been taking place mainly in Tanzania seem to be spreading to this Southern African country, and it is important to rally Malawians against this horrendous practice before it is too late.

Full Story...



Ritual Killing and Skepticism in Zambia

by Leo Igwe

Zambia has just recorded its ‘first case’ of albino killing. Suspected ritualists butchered a 37 year old albino woman in the eastern district of Lundazi. They cut off her right hand and extracted the teeth from her mouth. In Zambia, ritual murder is on the rise.

Full Story...



Albino Killings, Witchcraft, And Political Elections In Tanzania

by Leo Igwe

If you are one of those who think there is no connection between politics and the savage practice of albino killing in Tanzania, then you need to read the recent statement from the Deputy Minister for Home Affairs, Pereira Silima. Silima made it clear to politicians in the country that if they stopped patronizing the ‘witch doctors’ then this East African country might see an end to the shameful and horrific murders of albinos.

The people in Tanzania need to discard the belief that drives them to attack kidnap and kill people living with albinism.

Full Story...



From Children of ‘Witches’ to ‘Child Witches’ in Ghana

by Leo Igwe

Children are among those who populate the witch camps in the Northern Ghana. These children are not at the sanctuary because they were accused of witchcraft. They are at these shelters because their mothers or grand mothers were accused. But from my observations, many of these children end up suffering as a result the label of witchcraft applied to their mothers or grand mothers. The belief in child witches exist among the Dagomba and other ethnic communities in the Northern region. But it takes a different dimension.

Full Story...



Understanding Witchcraft and Witch Sanctuaries in Northern Ghana

by Leo Igwe

Witch sanctuaries, described by local NGOs as ‘witch camps’, form part of the infrastructure of witchcraft in Northern Ghana. These sanctuaries are shrines, though one of sanctuaries in Gushiegu is not attached to any shrine. Tindana are the heads of the sanctuaries. The Dagbani term, Tindana, literally means - the one who owns the land. They are responsible for consulting the Tindang, the community spirit or god whenever there is a problem like drought or epidemic, war, plague, accusations of death or illness witchcraft, etc

Full Story...



A Fleet of Jets: A Critical Look at the Business of African Pentecostalism

by Leo Igwe

Anybody who thinks that the wave of christianity based witch hunting and pentecostalism sweeping across Africa and migrant communities is due to some unique strand of piety and religiosity of Africans should think again. The rise of African pentecostalism has a lot to do with the 'business acumen' of the region's 'pastorpreneurs' who are exploiting the situation in the region. 



Atheism in Black Communities

by Leo Igwe

A few years ago I met a man in Ghana who claimed to be a traditional African religionist. He was putting on some exotic costumes- some multi colored clothing and beads, holding some bits and pieces of ritual making tools. He was pretending to have some supernatural powers, and to be communicating with invisible forces. In the course of our conversation, he asked me the religion which I belonged to and I said that I had no religion, that I was an atheist. And he quickly retorted. Are you not an African?



Death and Humanist Funerals in Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

On February 9, 2013, the former Chair of the Nigerian Humanist Movement, Eze Ebisike died after a brief illness. On March 2, he was buried in his hometown Okpokume, Mpam, Ekwerazu Ahiazu Mbiase in Imo State. Ebisike was an ex-catholic priest and an atheist. He was buried after a short humanist funeral ceremony in the compound.



Together We Can Stop Witch Burning in Papua New Guinea

by Leo Igwe

I am writing to urge the international community to come to the aid of the Pacific nation of Papua New Guinea as it grapples with the menace of witchcraft or sorcery related violence. Witch persecution and killing has been going on in the country for too long and we cannot allow it to continue.
We need to take action now!



Child Witch Hunting and Our Justice System

by Leo Igwe

The belief that evil magic and witchcraft can possess infants is largely behind the wave of exorcism-related abuse of children ravaging many parts of Nigeria and Africa. Many families and communities make scapegoats of their kids.



Witch Killing and Africans

by Leo Igwe

There is a growing incident of lynching and murder of suspected witches in different parts of Africa. This wave of witch hunting targets elderly people particularly women. In Nigeria, a court has rejected the bail application of three persons accused of killing a 70-year old woman, Mrs Rebecca Adewumi, for witchcraft.



‘Child Witches’ in Ghana

by Leo Igwe

The west African nation of Ghana is rather widely known for its ‘witch camps’, where mainly old women who are accused of occult crimes and subsequently banished from their communities. They seek refuge in these ‘camps’ to avoid being killed by their family and community members. But in the village of Sang, off Tamale-Yendi Road, in the northern region of Ghana there is a care center for vulnerable children.



Kukuo: Inside a ‘Witch Camp’ in Ghana

by Leo Igwe

Kukuo is a small community located off Bimbilla, near Oti river in the Northern Region of Ghana. It is one of those communities where banished ‘witches’ take refuge.



Witch Killing and the Rule of Law in Africa.

by Leo Igwe

The killing of persons accused of witchcraft continues to take place in different parts of Africa despite the existence of enabling laws and human rights mechanisms.

Full Story...



A Skeptic’s Manifesto for Africa

by Leo Igwe

For too long, African societies have been identified as superstitious consisting of people who cannot question, reason or think critically. Dogma and blind faith in divinity and tradition are the mainstay of African popular thought, culture and mentality.

Full Story...



The Death of Naila Mumtaz - exorcism-related abuses must be eradicated

by Leo Igwe

Four family members in the UK have been jailed for life for murdering a pregnant woman, Naila Mumtaz, 21. They murdered her because they believed she was possessed by Djinn or evil spirit.

Full Story...



Freedom of Speech and Religious Offence

by Leo Igwe

The ‘anti-Islam film’ which led to protests, attacks and killings across Middle East, Asia and Africa has sparked debates over religious offense, particularly how to balance freedom of speech/expression and freedom of religion globally.

Full Story...



Atheism in Nigeria

by Leo Igwe

According to a recent worldwide poll called, The Global Index of Religiosity and Atheism, Africa is the world’s most devout region. Even with the global decline in religiosity, the black continent has the least number of self-proclaimed atheists in the world.

Full Story...



Traditional Values and Human Rights in Africa

by Leo Igwe

On March 24 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution titled, Promoting human rights and fundamental freedoms through a better understanding of traditional values of humankind in conformity with international human rights laws.’

Full Story...



Who is Afraid of New Atheism?

by Leo Igwe

New ideas, they say, go through three stages. First, they are ignored. Second, they are treated as heresies and are fiercely opposed. And later, they are accepted as common sense truths and realities.

Full Story...



Ritual Killing in Nigeria of People with Hunchbacks and other Disabilities

by Leo Igwe

Last year a court in Southern Nigeria remanded in custody 4 persons for allegedly killing a hunchback woman, Mrs Ifeoma Angela Igwe for ritual purposes. According to the report, the hoodlums went to the woman’s house and kidnapped her.  They took her to a nearby bush where they beheaded her, butchered her and removed the hunch. It is believed that the hunch contains ‘magical substance or mercury’ which can make people rich.  I do not know how Nigerians came about this erroneous idea.

Full Story...



Atheism and Human Rights Abuses in Africa

by Leo Igwe

Today around the globe too many atrocities are being committed with impunity in the name of god, allah and other constructs, which have over the ages, been identified or associated with the so called supreme being. The dream of a secular peaceful world where people of all faiths and none can coexist in harmony - continues to elude many across the region. Millions of people- theists and atheists- continue to suffer and are abused due to superstition, religious fundamentalism and supernaturalism. In this piece I will focus on two of such areas.



Religion, Witch Hunts, Homophobia and Human Rights in Africa

by Leo Igwe

Religious laws are legalized religious doctrines. They are “revelations” turned into rules to govern society. Religious laws are sacred dogma institutionalized. They are sins criminalized. They are religious hatred, intolerance, discrimination and fanaticism turned into state policies.



Witchcraft and the Death Penalty in Saudi Arabia

by Leo Igwe

Recently, a Sri Lankan woman was arrested by Saudi authorities for witchcraft.  A man accused this woman of casting a spell on a 13 year old girl during a family shopping trip. He complained to the police that the girl ‘started acting in an abnormal way’ after a close contact with the woman in a shopping mall in the port city of Jeddah. According to news reports, the accused woman is currently in police custody in Saudi Arabia. If pressure is not brought on Saudi authorities to spare the life of this ‘innocent’ woman, she may be executed by beheading any moment from now.



My People! My People!! This Witch Hunting Must Stop

by Leo Igwe

The potentially dangerous activities of a new local church in the Cross River-Akwa Ibom states axis of the country should be of concern to all people of conscience in Nigeria and beyond. This church, which habitually starts the themes of its crusade with “My Father! My Father!!...” appears to be on a fast track to causing a new wave of witchcraft-related abuse, torture and killings in the region.



Islam and the Problem of Street Children in Mali

by Leo Igwe

Children are the future of any society. Whatever jeopardizes the future of children endangers the future of the society. The authorities in Mali must strive and eradicate the problem of the street children and the madrassa school system that fuels, aids and abets it .

Full Story...

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