A controversial conference on withcraft has started on Tuesday at the University of Nigeria Nsukka (UNN), Enugu, despite waves of opposition from Christian communities within and outside the Nigeria’s second oldest university.
The South-Eastern state is populated mainly by Christians who hold strong perception that anything witchcraft is satanic, no wonder the hawkish stance against the event.
Patrick Egwu, a journalist, present at the two-day conference, told newsmen that the venue has been shifted to a bigger hall – because of the large turnout of participants.
Christ Church choir of the university sang the opening hymn at the conference. “It was more like a normal church event, people calling Jesus and praying that the aim of the event should be achieved,” he added.
According to the journalist, the nomenclature ‘witchcraft’ was removed from the conference banner in order to lessen the controversy around it, but that every discussion at the conference centered on witchcraft.
More than 500 people were already seated midway into the conference, he said.
“There’s no protest going on here, at all. Every where is calm, people are just enjoying the lectures,”
Witchcraft Human Rights Information Network has a stand outside, selling witchcraft-related books and items.
“People are outside, trying to pick copies of books,” Mr Egwu said.“The noise, the controversy, and the threats actually made the conference to be more popular. It made people to be interested in it. People are still trooping in, even the hall is almost filled up.”
Mr Egwu said the aim of the conference, according to the organisers, is to demystify witchcraft.
“It’s something that has been there for centuries, every poor widow or every small child that is malnourished, they will tag him a witch,” he added.
“I grew up hearing the world witchcraft, I really want to learn a lot about it, what is happening, does it exist, what’s the connection between witchcraft and Christianity.Some people who called themselves Christians wake up at night, burning candles and praying for their enemies to die by Holy Ghost fire. Is it not an act of witchcraft?