Despite the concerted efforts and prayers of Religious groups and organizations in Nigeria, the University of Nigeria Nsuka on Tuesday the 26th of November 2019 held Nigeria’s first highly controversial and much talked about “Witchcraft Conference”.
“As long as I’m alive and God is alive, this conference can’t hold. When Nations are holding digital conferences to advance technology, Nigeria’s professors are busy organizing international conference to teach witchcraft.
What brought poverty in Nigeria is the FESTAC which Obasanjo use Nigeria money to organize, instead of advancing technology at that time with abundant oil money, rather, he invited witches all over Africa to Nigeria.
Many of them came for FESTAC and refused to go back to their countries. That is why God became angry with Nigeria and we became one of the poorest countries of the world.
No international witchcraft conference will hold in this country.
No physical/broad daylight witchcraft conference will hold in this country,” Bishop Dr Sam Zuga warned.
It was reported that the opening prayer for the conference was conducted by a Catholic priest, while the moderator was a cleric.
Music was also provided by the UNN Christ Chapel choir.
The conference, organised by Prof. B.I.C Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies and Research, UNN, met stiff opposition and criticisms, but organisers rebuffed the calls to cancel the conference, and instead changed the initial theme: “Witchcraft, meanings, factors and practices,” to ”Dimensions of human behaviours.”
UNN management had directed the organisers to drop the initial theme of the conference on account of outcries from various Christian bodies.
However, speaking at the opening ceremony of the conference holding at Nsukka main campus of UNN, the Director of the centre, Prof. Egodi Uchendu, regretted how ordinary academic conference was twisted to cause confusion by social media and other media platforms.
“The casualty of this confusion went beyond being asked by UNN management to change title but also the withdrawal of our keynote speaker, Prof. David Ker.
“I am delighted that social media hyper on the conference didn’t deter participants and organisers from attending the conference, which is completely academic,” she said.
Prof. Damian Opata, in his paper titled “The wealthy are no witches: Towards an Epistemology and Ideology of Witchcraft among the Igbo of Nigeria,” explained that the way witchcraft was propagated and believed by some Nigerians had continued to kill the development of knowledge on the issue.
“Some people have killed the initiative for creative indigenous thinking because of mere belief in witchcraft.
“Pastors, prophets, seers in the foreign religions and charismatic priests of variegated persuasions very frequently use perceived attacks by witches and wizards to put fear in the minds and hearts of their various congregations.”
Continuing, he said, “The truth is, for those who believe that witches and wizards exist, it exists for them; and those who believe it does not exist, it doesn’t exist.
“What we are doing today is completely an academic conference; it’s unfortunate that some people tried on social media to give it different interpretations.”
Organized by Egodi Uchendu, director of B.I.C. Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies at the university, the conference seeks to feature academics reviewing journals and information gathered over the years on witchcraft. The theme of witchcraft is only a topic for academic engagement.