Proliferation of Child Witchcraft Accusation in Nigeria: A Violation of the Human Rights of the Child

  • Osifunke Ekundayo
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  • Osifunke Ekundayo

    PhD (London), Reader at Department of Private and Property Law, University of Ibadan, Ibadan, Nigeria.

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Child witchcraft accusations are a relatively recent phenomenon trending in Nigeria especially in South Eastern part of the country. The stigmatisation of children as witches and resultant child rights abuse is becoming prevalent in this part of Nigeria and is getting worrisome. Witchcraft stigmatisation is increasingly identified as a growing human rights concern and has been recognised as a major barrier to the effective implementation of child rights in Nigeria. The paper aims to give a better understanding of the complexity and the variety of the phenomena described, as well as the causes, which are not only cultural and social, but also economic and political. To do this, it examines the plights of children branded as witches in Nigeria. It explains the reasons for the proliferation and flourishing of this evil practice against these vulnerable children. It sheds light on the inhuman degrading treatments these children are subjected to and the perpetrators are usually family members and religious leaders. The rights of these labelled ‘Child witch’ under the various international human rights laws are highlighted because witchcraft-related abuse entails significant violations of a range of children’s rights. It is revealed in the paper that domestic legislative policy responses are not fully effective, coupled with the problem of enforcement and implementation. The work of various CSOs and NGOs who are the main actors to raise concern about the increase of child witchcraft accusations in Nigeria are highlighted. Some recommendations are suggested. The paper concludes that the phenomenon of witch persecution is still very much alive, and there is the need for urgent response and the needed protection for the affected children by the government.


Research Paper


International Journal of Law Management and Humanities, Volume 5, Issue 3, Page 1621 - 1659


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