Just yesterday I wrote about the travails of the charities assisting the so-called "Child Witches" in Akwa-Ibom State. This morning, news reports indicate that armed men invaded the CRARN Center, terrorizing the children and the neighborhood two days ago. This campaign against Mr. Sam Ikpe-Itauma by the State government is reminiscent of the tactics of the Abacha dictatorship. Who will forget that Ken Saro-Wiwa, the leader of the Movement for the Survival of Ogoni Peoples (MOSOP), had earned his death warrant after his exposition, at the United Nations, of the collusion between the dictatorship and foreign oil companies in the human and environmental devastation of the Niger Delta. Now, the governor of Akwa-Ibom State, having accused CRARN and Stepping Stones of fraud and for giving the state a bad name in the international community, seems poised to "disappear" these men. You would think that the ten years of "democracy" in Nigeria should have made a difference!
Given the urgency of this situation, all conscientious people ought to call on the Nigerian President Goodluck Jonathan (who is visiting the United Nations in two weeks) to intervene in this matter, as the well-being of these unfortunate children and their helpers far outweigh the vain pride of an insensitive governor. If I make it to New York I shall ask Mr. Jonathan what his government is doing about the matter. But also, local and international news media should revisit this story; for it will be a shame if tomorrow--and God forbid--something terrible happens to Sam Ikpe-Itauma under our watch.
My helplessness is hurting so bad. But letting this matter go, without a final resolution that is beneficial to the children is not an option. The man dies in him, Soyinka memorably affirmed, who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.
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