Beyond the horror of this story circulating around the web today, I feel a profound disconnect between the modern world and that of superstitious enclaves like this, between enlightenment and a terrible darkness that some cultures still cling to so much that they would butcher their own families and neighbors. Places like this, people like this still exist. We must tell their story so that everyone can be outraged and change eventually comes to even the farthest corners.
A 43 Year old man from Onna Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State in Nigeria, Mr. Felix Lawson has allegedly beheaded his six years old step-son, Master Effiong Lawson (fondly called Ifanyi). Investigation revealed that Mr. Lawson who is a junior staff worker in the riverine Ibeno Local Government Council returned home over the weekend and was enjoying his evening meal when his step-son sneaked into the backyard and whispered to his younger sister to bring him food remnant as he was said to very be hungry, having not eaten for the past three days.
Unknown to him, his father was at home and heard his whispering and recognized his voice. Mr. Lawson went for his machetes and flung himself out to the backyard; Ifanyi and his brother who was his escort took to their heels but he was not all that lucky as his father ran fast that when he got closer to him, he slammed the machetes on his head, the young lad fell down, and he cut off his head instantly with the machetes.
Yes. There are pictures of a child’s body lying in stagnant water. They are too awful to post here, obviously. I do not think this is a hoax but I can’t be sure. I do not know if the details are correct but I have no reason to not accept them.
The next day, officials retrieved the body and the head which had been found elsewhere and arrested Felix Lawson. He was then released. No one was willing to testify about the murder. Lawson was convinced that his step-son since was “a wizard who has made his family become wretched and poverty-stricken”.
His crime was poverty and his mistake was getting caught asking for something to eat.
The cruelty and coldness is shocking.
Also today, Leo Igwe posted this piece on Swift Blog about witchcraft in Ghana:
Witchcraft suspicion is ubiquitous in Ghana, a deeply pervasive social reality simmering under the social surface. An unexpected death, sudden disease or misfortune trigger suspicions. Suspicion murmurs into accusation. Accusations can justify exile or death at the hands of a mob.
Suspicion of witchcraft can touch men as well as women, the very old and even children can be branded witches. Witchcraft accusation and resulting execution occurs in rural and urban areas, on the streets, in the market places, on farms and in offices. Schools and colleges are not immune, teachers and students accuse and are accused.
No one is above suspicion of practicing malevolent magic. But witchcraft accusation has dreadful consequences. It is a stigma that socially discredits the accused. A witch is a criminal, a destroyer of life and property, a bloodthirsty murderer who kills others through mysterious spiritual means. A witch is seen as conniving and dangerous.