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Courage Amidst Superstition: Kogi Hero Awarded for Saving Lives from Mob Justice

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LOKOJA, Nigeria – In a ceremony held in Lokoja, the capital of Nigeria’s central state of Kogi, an individual’s bravery was honoured amidst the grim shadows of superstition and mob justice.

The office of the National Human Rights Commission served as the venue for the Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) to present their Advocate of the Year Award for 2023, recognizing those who stand against the tide of witchcraft allegations and violence.

Leo Igwe, director of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches, oversees the organization’s efforts in challenging the irrational beliefs that lead to such heinous acts, promoting a message of solidarity and courage in the face of unfounded fears.

Kogi, the confluence of the Niger and Benue rivers, witnessed an event that altered the course of AfAW’s yearly plans. When two young men were accused of causing the disappearance of a tricycler’s manhood through supernatural means, they faced imminent death at the hands of a lynching mob.

Garba Abdulkareem
Garba Abdulkareem presented with the award of Advocate of the Year 2023

In these dire moments, a few courageous individuals, including Garba Abdulkareem, a staff member of the Federal Road Safety Commission in Lokoja, intervened. Their timely actions saved the young men from an unjust demise.

The coordinator of the NHRC, privy to the lifesaving efforts, brought this episode to the attention of AfAW, prompting them to honor Mr. Abdulkareem with their prestigious award.

During the run-up to the ceremony on November 3, Grace FM, a local radio station, dedicated an hour-long segment to discussing the troubling issue of witchcraft accusations.

The program shed light on the appalling treatment meted out to those branded as witches—often vulnerable women, children, and the elderly.

The radio conversation opened a channel for afflicted individuals to share their harrowing experiences, reinforcing the necessity for advocacy in all societal quarters.

At the award event, the focus expanded to the bizarre phenomenon of magical manhood theft—a superstition that predominantly victimizes the socio-economically disadvantaged.

Participants shared personal anecdotes of being targeted by such allegations, with one woman revealing the witchcraft accusation she faced due to her decade-long childlessness.

Tragically, many who are accused succumb to the pressure of their predicaments, sometimes coerced into confessing to deeds they did not commit.

The conference heard of the fate of Danjuma and his colleague, both beaten to death and burned for supposedly vanishing a man’s manhood—a stark example of the fatal repercussions these accusations can have.

The AfAW, through the Advocate of the Year award, seeks to galvanize public action against the resignation that often greets these absurd claims.

The award not only celebrates heroism but also serves as a clarion call to oppose the darkness of ignorance with acts of compassion and reason.

“Thus we at the Advocacy for Alleged Witches are delighted to award someone who displayed courage and compassion. Someone who faced down a mob and stopped the lynching of two fellow human beings,” stated the AfAW.

Mr. Garba Abdulkareem’s daring intervention not only saved lives but also brought to light the urgent need for education and understanding to dispel dangerous myths.

As law enforcement and human rights bodies continue to stress, such allegations are rooted in falsehoods and deep-seated superstitions.

And while the AfAW continues its commendable work, Mr. Abdulkareem’s actions stand as a beacon of hope and a potent reminder of the humanity that exists within us all to challenge and change the narrative of fear and superstition.

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