Overlord of Mamprugu pledges support to fight lynching of alleged witches

Nayiri Naa Bohagu Mahami Sheriga, Overlord of Mamprugu Traditional Area has pledged his support for the efforts by the Ministry of Gender, Children and Social Protection to stop the lynching of alleged witches and other forms of human rights abuses perpetrated against them.

He said he would call his sub-chiefs and charge them to tell members of their communities to stop lynching persons alleged to have witchcraft as well as desist from all forms of abuse against them.

He expressed abhorrence to the practice and said killing someone over witchcraft allegations must not have a place in the Mamprugu Kingdom, adding all efforts would be made to stop such practices in the area.

Nayiri Naa Bohagu Sheriga made the pledge when the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection called on him at his palace at Nalerigu in the North East Region to seek his support to stop the lynching of alleged witches in the area.

Witchcraft allegations against elderly women especially in the North East Region have been on the increase as the alleged witches camp at Gambaga in the region continues to record new members.

The alleged witches are mostly beaten and flogged severely with some being lynched.

Similar trends exist in the Northern Region too, where about a month ago, two people were lynched at Zakpalsi in the Mion District over witchcraft allegations.

This informed the Minister’s decision to seek the support of the traditional authorities in these areas to stop the practice and guarantee the fundamental human rights of all in the communities.

Nayiri Naa Bohagu Sheriga expressed support for other vulnerable groups including persons living with disabilities and said he had released a parcel of land for an office complex to be built for them to champion their welfare in the region.

Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, who was accompanied by the Chief Director of the Ministry and some Directors, described the Mamprugu Overlord’s pledge as refreshing, saying it was significant in the fight against the lynching of alleged witches in the communities.

She said human rights abuses meted out to alleged witches were against the laws of the country, adding that a new anti-witchcraft law would soon be passed by Parliament to deal with such issues to ensure stiffer punishment for perpetrators.

She said a Restoration Unit had been created at her Ministry to handle issues involving witchcraft allegations, indicating that the Ministry was working on a toll-free line to be made available to communities to call to report instances of witchcraft allegations for the prompt attention to help rescue victims.

She said ‘When such reports are made early, we will task the Police around that area to immediately rescue the victim’ adding this would also help to identify the perpetrators and deal with them according to law.

Hajia Abudu later visited the Chief of Gambaga to seek his support as well and visited the alleged witches’ camp at Gambaga to learn about their challenges and what to do to reintegrate the inmates back into their communities.

She presented used clothes, bags of maize and an undisclosed amount of money to the managers of the facility to take care of the inmates.

So far, 120 inmates have returned to their communities leaving about 90, comprising elderly women, men, and children at the facility.

Meanwhile, the Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection will today, Thursday, visit Ya-Na Abukari (II), Overlord of Dagbon, to seek his support as well over the issue, as well as visit Zakpalsi to amongst others commiserate with the families of the two persons lynched in the area over witchcraft allegations.

Source: Ghana News Agency