How do you know if a child is a witch?


How do you know if a child is a witch? Beat him or her with a broom and if they cry, well then they are surely possessed by daemons, everyone knows that witches are terrified of brooms.


Crazy logic I know, but what is scary is that in Nigeria this is fast becoming common folk law and the abuse of children as witches is on the rise. They are blamed for causing all manner of things from illness, poor crops, a family member loosing their job and even death. Once a child is identified as a witch they are more often than not tortured (put through a cleansing ritual as it is know) in horrific ways in order to cast out the demons and if this fails they are then ostracized by their community, in some cases they have died as a result of their “cleansing’ rituals.  

Ironically much of this horrific treatment is done under the guise of ‘doing gods work” and children accused of witchcraft can be incarcerated in churches for weeks on end where they are beaten, starved and tortured in order to extract a confession. 

The states of Akwa Ibom and Cross River have about 15,000 children branded as witches, the vast majority of them end up abandoned and abused on the streets.  There is some light in this dark story. Stepping Stones Nigeria is a charity which is doing a great job in very trying circumstances. The charity was set-up in 2003 when Gary Foxcroft, spent 3 months in Akwa Ibom State carrying out research in community perceptions of the oil industry. During his time there he came across groups of young children, some as young as four or five, sleeping rough on the streets. It started off by setting up a school and from there has branched out into caring for the many kids that are tortured and abandoned for being witches. They work with other community organisations in the region to protect, save and transform the lives of these vulnerable children.

To find out more about them and to support the good work they are doing please visit their website for more information:

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2 Responses to “How do you know if a child is a witch?”

  1. Carmel Says:

    Please stand up for the rights of children by taking part in our Blog Day, Wednesday December 14th, in support of the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign.

    We know that you have already blogged in support of child rights and Stepping Stones Nigeria. We’re so grateful for this and hope that you will support us again by joining in with our Blog Day.

    Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) is a global campaign set up by the UK-based child rights charity Stepping Stones Nigeria and our Nigerian partner organisations. PACT aims to bring long-term positive social change to vulnerable children in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria, particularly those at risk of witchcraft accusations, abuse and trafficking.

    To help spread the word about the PACT campaign we wanted to invite some of our favourite bloggers to blog about your happiest childhood memory or best experience with children. We’d love for you to blog about this specifically in response to the following statement:

    ‘Every child has the right to happiness’

    We want to celebrate children by focusing on our positive experiences of being a child or being around children. After all, every child deserves to have those happy experiences and that is what we’re fighting for through PACT.
    If you are interested we would love you to take part in our Blog Day. To do so please do the following:

    1. Write your blog post on December 14th

    2. At the end of your post please add this statement:
    “This post is part of a series inspired by the Prevent Abuse of Children Today (PACT) campaign, hosted by Stepping Stones Nigeria. Please add your name to the PACT petition to prevent abuse of innocent children in the Niger Delta and visit the site to find out more:

    3. If you want to take part please leave a comment on this blog post or drop us an email.

    4. Please ask others to get involved!

    The Blog Day badge is available to add to your post today. Please email me to receive this.

    Let us know when you post and we’ll feature it on the PACT site and facebook.

    Thanks for taking the time to learn about PACT and happy blogging!

    Kind Regards,


    • macarthursmutterings Says:

      I will be posting a blog in relation to this on the 14th and I encourage anyone else who has a blog to do the same, it is for such a great cause

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