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Friday, 26 August 2016

Four Year Old Girl Caged By Foster Parents After Being Accused Of Witchcraft

A four year old girl has been rescued by the Ondo State Police Command of the Nigerian Police in south-west Nigeria following reports that she was being locked away all day in a kiosk by her foster parents. The victim, who at least, it is claimed, goes to school, was always severely beaten with a horsewhip and then forced into the kiosk by her foster mother who is also her aunt. The little girl lost both parents to the HIV/AIDS pandemic.

Her foster mother, who accused her of being a witch, has denied child abuse, and said she only locked her niece in "her small shop" whenever she had to go to work in her farm, but the little girl has spoken to the police about her abuse at the hands of her carer. She also said she could not run away from her abuser because she was scared.

It is not surprising that the victim has been accused of witchcraft by her carer. Belief in witchcraft is still rife in Nigeria, and the dire economic situation does not help. Since the couple looking after her are obviously poor, and apparently do not have children of their own, it would be easy to blame their poverty and childlessness on their foster child, hence the venting of their frustrations on her. Her foster mother could have easily taken her along with her to the farm. Why lock her in a claustrophobic kiosk all day long, most probably without food, water, and nowhere to relieve herself?

The little girl's decision not to run away from her abuser may have saved her life, as she may have easily been the victim of sexual abuse, or ritual killers. There are so many children in Nigeria suffering even more terrible abuse and neglect simply because those who look after them, including the biological parents of such children, have accused them of being witches, or possessed by demons. This 'diagnosis' is almost always made by a pastor, or the local native/witch doctor who torture their victims into 'confessing' to be witches. Many children have been maimed for life from having their fingers burnt in fires in a bid to extract such confessions, and many have lost their lives. This story about a 2 year old Nigerian boy, who was thrown out by his parents for being a witch, but who was rescued by a Danish woman, readily comes to mind.

Nigeria's worsening economic woes will only serve to push people further into the abyss of depression and desperation, and little children, such as the hapless little girl above, are just one of countless 'collateral damages'.

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