By Kazeem Ugbodaga
Mokwa in Niger State, North Central Nigeria is playing host to the most vicious torture and human degradation in the name of casting out witches and wizards.
The man at the Centre of the evil deeds is Mallam Hasan Patigi, an exorcist, who claim to have the power to cast out witches and wizards, but his victims are tortured and degraded in the most dehumanizing manner.
Dehumanising pictures of torture of an old woman purported to be a witch and the urinating on an old man purported to be a wizard and others flood the internet.
Thus, the Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) has urged the government of Niger State to immediately prevail on the traditional ruler of Mokwa, the Ndalile of Mokwa, Shaba Aliyu Mohammed, and stop the bogus and abusive healing practices of Patigi in the area.
Founder of AFAW, Dr. Leo Igwe said at this moment, it was important to impress on the Ndalile of Mokwa that his continued support and endorsement of Patigi’s fake healing and degrading treatment of the people of Mokwa was a betrayal of trust.
“The Ndalile’s refusal to condemn the fraudulent claims and exploitative schemes is incompatible with his duties and responsibilities as a traditional ruler. It must be made clear to the Ndalile of Mokwa that he must choose to rule following the law of the country or he would be sanctioned.
“For months, Hassan Patigi, who is from Kwara State, has been conducting faith healing and witchcraft exorcist rallies in Mokwa with thousands of attendees in violation of the guidelines for the management of COVID-19.
“Some revulsive images and videos of Patigi’s healing activities have been circulating online, showing scenes of torture, inhuman and degrading treating of alleged witches, and others he claimed to be healing.
“In some of the videos, Patigi forced alleged witches to go naked, fight and urinate on themselves. In one video, Hassan Patigi was seen maltreating an old woman, accused of witchcraft in the community,” he said.
According to Igwe, these so-called ‘healing practices’ violated health management codes; as they contravened human rights and the laws of the country.
He said unfortunately, the Ndalile of Mokwa had been frustrating all the efforts being made to stop this charlatan and end his utterly shameful activities in the area.
“There have been posts and comments linking the traditional ruler to the activities of Hassan Patigi. One post states: “He does his bogus healing at his residence especially in the evening, at the traditional head’s house in the afternoon and torture innocent girls, men and old women to get them to confess to practicing witchcraft”
”Patigi’s ‘healing exploits’ are an indictment on the authorities in Mokwa and Niger state. They demonstrate a dereliction of duty and inability to secure and protect the lives of people in Mokwa,” he said.
Igwe said “once again, AFAW implores the governor of Niger State, Abubakar Sani Bello, the Etsu of Nupe, Yahaya Abubakar Kusodu, the Commissioner of Police, the chairman of Mokwa to take urgent and immediate steps to restore law and order in Mokwa.
“Hassan Patigi’s abusive healing practices must stop. Ndalile’s continued support for Patigi’s despicable activities in Mokwa must end.”