Nigerian sceptic and humanist leader Leo Igwe was detained this morning, apparently on trumped up charges, and at the behest of a man he has accused of raping a ten-year-old girl – Leo had been campaigning for justice on the girl’s behalf.
In response to this appeal I phoned the Police who were holding Leo, to ask what the basis was for his detention, and emphasise the international interest and concern around the case. If you would like to support Leo Igwe at this difficult time, this is the appeal from his family:
Leo and his father risk being tortured or murdered in police custody for his role seeking for justice for Ms Daberechi whose parents are very poor and cannot afford two meals in a day not to talk about paying legal charges.
We need to call the Police authorities in Nigeria about the risk of additional international outrage now that this fertile ground of religious bigotry and suppression of justice and human rights has already misled a citizen of ours to suicide in the name of God!
The numbers to call are : AIG Ringin: +2348033225349
PPRO Umuahia: +2347030988278
Com Aloy Okoro: +2348037217361
LAGOS (Reuters) – Police in Nigeria are holding a goat on suspicion of attempted armed robbery.
Vigilantes took the black and white beast to the police saying it was an armed robber who had used black magic to transform himself into a goat to escape arrest after trying to steal a Mazda 323.
Mary is a pretty five-year-old girl with big brown eyes and a father who kicked her out onto the streets in one of the most dangerous parts of the world. Her crime: the local priest had denounced her as a witch and blamed her “evil powers” for causing her mother’s death.
Ostracised, vulnerable and frightened, she wandered the streets in south-eastern Nigeria, sleeping rough, struggling to stay alive.
Mary was found by a British charity worker and today lives at a refuge in Akwa Ibom province with 150 other children who have been branded witches, blamed for all their family’s woes, and abandoned. Before being pushed out of their homes many were beaten or slashed with knives, thrown onto fires, or had acid poured over them as a punishment or in an attempt to make them “confess” to being possessed. In one horrific case, a young girl called Uma had a three-inch nail driven into her skull.
Yet Mary and the others at the shelter are the lucky ones for they, at least, are alive. Many of those branded “child-witches” are murdered – hacked to death with machetes, poisoned, drowned, or buried alive in an attempt to drive Satan out of their soul.
- Mob kills 50-year old “blasphemous” Nigerian man – A 50-year-old Muslim man, who allegedly made a blasphemous statement against Prophet Muhammad, was beaten to death in Kano on Saturday. The man was killed at Sheka Aci Lafiya quarters when some angry Muslim youths besieged his house and beat him to a state of coma. He was beaten and left unconscious before the police intervened and dispersed the crowd.
- Saudi man kills daughter for converting to Christianity – A Saudi man working with the Commission for Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice recently killed his daughter for converting to Christianity. According to sources close to the victim, the religious police member had cut the tongue of the girl and burned her to death following a heated debate on religion.
- Saudi mother takes husband to court to stop marriage of 8 year-old daughter to 50 year old man – The Saudi Arabian mother of an eight-year-old girl is trying to stop her marrying a middle-aged man who made a marriage contract with the girl’s father in the province of al-Qasim, in the centre of the country. According to the Saudi newspaper, Okaz, the news emerged after the mother of the child reported her husband and took him to court to prevent the marriage from going ahead.
- Netherlands allows polygamous marriages for Muslims only – Although polygamy is banned in the Netherlands, the marriages of Muslims who have several wives are recognised by Dutch authorities. Registrars in the major cities, in particular, record dozens of bigamous or polygamous marriages per year. These marriages are prohibited and an offence in the Netherlands. However, polygamous marriages that take place in countries where more than one wife is permitted, such as Morocco, are accepted, newspaper NRC Handelsblad reports.
- Saudi woman arrested for driving a car – Saudi religious police have arrested a woman in the region of Qatif in eastern Saudi Arabia for driving a car. The woman was later released after her family posted bail, and will now be put on trial. Conservatives argue that if women were allowed to drive, this would lead to women being able to mix freely with men, to corruption and the destruction of family values.