Leo IgweNigeria OP-ED 

Adamawa Chief Judge: Sanction Abdulrazaq Adamu and Other Witch-Hunting Judges and Magistrates in the State

Leo Igwe
This year the recipient is Leo Igwe

Adamawa Chief Judge: Sanction Abdulrazaq Adamu and Other Witch-Hunting Judges and Magistrates in the State

By Leo Igwe

The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) urges the chief judge of Adamawa to sanction Chief Magistrate Abdulrazaq Adamu and other judges and magistrates that try suspected witches. This call has become necessary following a recent disturbing report that Adamu presided over the trial of three suspected witches in Song Local Government Area of the state. 
The suspects were accused of killing one person and torturing another through witchcraft. Chief Magistrate Abdulrazaq Adamu went to the extent of inviting a native doctor who made the accused confess in court. Adamu then remanded the suspected witches in custody until November 9. The trial of suspected witches in state courts in this 21st century is shocking and  embarrassing. 

Unfortunately, this incident was an isolated case. There have been other reports of witch trials in courts across the state. The chief judge of Adamawa should bring an end to this miscarriage of justice. The trial of accused witches as we have witnessed in Song ended in Europe centuries ago. Chief Magistrate Abdulrazaq Adamu and other misguided court officials are taking the court system in Adamawa and by extension Nigeria, back to the medieval and early modern European times. The Adamawa chief judge should not allow this to happen.

AfAW asks the chief judge to sanction and suspend Chief Magistrate Abdulrazaq Adamu and other witch-hunting court officials without delay. These magistrates and judges should be sent for retraining and be retired forthwith. The trial of suspected witches has no basis in Nigerian law. Witchcraft is not recognized by the law of Nigeria. So, those prosecuting suspected witches in Adamawa are acting ultra vires. And the chief judge should not allow this illegality to continue. 

The idea of inviting a native doctor to help in the trial and prosecution of alleged witches in a state court is unheard of. Such a dangerous trend and development should be nipped in the bud. The chief judge should order the unconditional release of the suspected witches from prison custody and tender an unreserved apology to these innocent citizens. The chief judge should liaise with other state agencies to combat witchcraft accusations and persecution of alleged witches. They should work to ensure that state courts are places where accused witches could come to seek redress, relief, and protection, not places where they would be subjected to further abuse and violations. 

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