The four day conference on witchcraft at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka is over at last. Some power must have put its foot down for the opposition to the conference to fizzle out. Looking at the programme of the conference which is not exclusive to Intervention, everything there is perfect fit as far as academic inquiry is concerned. Might the initial reaction have been borne out of stereotypical attitude to witchcraft?. And the initial reaction could not be assured even with the name of Prof David Kerr who was to deliver the Keynote Lecture? If nothing else, Prof Kerr is a known name in literature and culture, a former Vice-Chancellor of Veritas University, Abuja which is owned by the Catholic Church and has always been an academic all his life.
Anyway, all that is over. Now, it is time to learn one or two lessons that a society such as Nigeria should learn from what a conference of that nature can teach. Other people have made more progress in doing that and the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and the Department of Political Science at Ibadan where Prof OBC Nwolise, a pioneer in this direction is based, might be helping Nigeria in terms of witchcraft as a technology of power in the Foucauldian sense.
Published below is the Programme of the UNN “Witchcraft” Conference for the records. Of particular importance to most readers would be the supremely academic framing of the papers presented across several thematic areas and sessions in three days, featuring academics from across Nigeria:
PROFESSOR B. I. C. IJOMAH CENTRE FOR POLICY STUDIES AND RESEARCH
Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Nigeria, Nsukka
PROGRAMME FOR THE FIRST INTERNATIONAL AND INTERDISCIPLINARY CONFERENCE OF THE CENTRE AT PRINCESS ALEXANDRIA AUDITORIUM, 25-28 NOVEMBER 2019
25 November 2019—Arrival & Registration at CEC
26 November 2019
8:00—9:00 a.m. Late Registration
Opening Programme (Moderator: Dr. Collins Ugwu)
National Anthem, 10:00-10:10
University Song, 10:10-10:20
Bible Reading—Ephesians 5: 1-17 (page 2) / Opening Prayer, 10:20-10:30
Breaking of Kolanuts, 10:40-10:50
Address by the Vice Chancellor, 10:50-11:00.
Classical Performance by the Music Department, 11:00 -11:20am
Welcome address by Prof. Egodi Uchendu, Director, Prof. B. I. C. Ijomah Centre, 11:20-11:30
Remarks by Special Guests: Catholic Bishop of Nsukka Diocese:
Special Birthday Rendition for Prof. B. I. C. Ijomah by Christ Church Chapel Choir, 11:40-11:50
Citation of the Guest Lecturer by Dr. Collins Ugwu
Keynote Lecture by Professor David I. Ker, 11:50 – 12:50
Brief interactive session on the paper to be moderated by the Special Guest, 12:50-1:15
Announcements & Vote of thanks by the LOC Chair, Dr. Elizabeth Onogwu, 1:15-1:20
Afternoon Session (Moderators: Dr. Ushe Mike and Dr. Chidi Ugwu), 3—4:30 p.m.
Session 1—Lead Papers
1: “The Wealthy are no Witches: Towards an Epistemology and Ideology of Witchcraft among the Igbo of Nigeria”—Prof. Damian. Opata
2: “Which Witch? What Anthropology knows about the Adult Bugbear”—Prof. P—J. Eze
EPHESIANS 5 [New Living Translation]
1 Imitate God, therefore, in everything you do, because you are his dear children.
2 Live a life filled with love, following the example of Christ. He loved us and offered himself as a sacrifice for us, a pleasing aroma to God.
3 Let there be no sexual immorality, impurity, or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.
4 Obscene stories, foolish talk, and coarse jokes—these are not for you. Instead, let there be thankfulness to God.
5 You can be sure that no immoral, impure, or greedy person will inherit the Kingdom of Christ and of God. For a greedy person is an idolater, worshiping the things of this world.
6 Don’t be fooled by those who try to excuse these sins, for the anger of God will fall on all who disobey him.
7 Don’t participate in the things these people do.
8 For once you were full of darkness, but now you have light from the Lord. So live as people of light!
9 For this light within you produces only what is good and right and true.
10 Carefully determine what pleases the Lord.
11 Take no part in the worthless deeds of evil and darkness; instead, expose them.
12 It is shameful even to talk about the things that ungodly people do in secret.
13 But their evil intentions will be exposed when the light shines on them,
14 for the light makes everything visible. This is why it is said, “Awake, O sleeper, rise up from the dead, and Christ will give you light.”
15 So be careful how you live. Don’t live like fools, but like those who are wise.
16 Make the most of every opportunity in these evil days.
17 Don’t act thoughtlessly, but understand what the Lord wants you to do.
Astrophysical Discourses on the Practice of Witchcraft in Africa
Chair: Dr. Stephen Atah Apebende, 4:30—6PM Venue: PAA
01– “Exhumation of the Dead and Necromantic Practices among the Tiv of Central Nigeria: A Metaphysical Approach,” Ushe Mike Ushe
02 – “Place Spirituality: Unravelling the Misery when Deity Confronted Transnational Corporation in Bayelsa State,” Olawari J. Egbe
03 – “What makes a Witch?” A Conceptual Analysis,” Ukachukwu Chidiebere Eleazar
04 – “Like Esu, same with Aje’: Conceptual Confusions in need of Decolonisation,”
Mohammed Akinola Akomolafe
05 -“Ideology and function in Tiv Witchcraft,” Shagbaor F. Wegh
06 – “ The Place of ‘Egbo Onu-Ogo’ in Curbing Witchcraft and Sorcery in Afikpo,” Uhere, Otuu Vincent
Session 2 8:30—10:00 AM
The politics of witchcraft practice, labeling and (under)development in post-contact societies.
Chair: Dr. John Eze Venue: BIC Ijomah Building, Room C202
01 – “The Social Psychology of Witchcraft: Examining the Scapegoating Function of Witchcraft and Poverty in the Niger Delta Region,” Udisi, Lawrence
02 – “Geriatric Misfortune: Witchcraft Labelling, Gender, Old Age and Societal Disruption,” Nnaemeka C. Amadi
03 – “Witchcraft Labeling and the Social Welfare of Elderly Women in Nigeria: Insights into Obukpa Community in Nsukka Locial Government Area of Enugu State,”
Ihuoma Stephen Chizoba, Asadu Mariagoretti Ngozika and Eze Marcus Okechukwu
04 – “Witchcraft Labelling and Pentecostalism in Nigeria: Implications for the development of rural communities in South Eastern Nigeria,” Nwoke Chidiebere Obinna
05 – “Patterns of Witcraftry (Nwinching) in University of Nigeria Nsukka,”Egodi Uchendu, Amuche Nnabueze and Chinedu Ololo
Session 3 10:00am—11:30PM
Witchcraft in African Societies: Hysteria, Abstractions, Myths and Realities
Chair: Dr. Joshua Agbo Venue: BIC Ijomah Building, Room C202
01 – “The Place of “Opochi/Ebe” (Witchcraft) in African Cultural Belief: A Case Study of Ebira-Tao of North Central Nigeria,” Moses Odei
03 – “Witchcraft in Traditional African Societies: A case study of the Igala’s in Delta State,”
04 – “A Rational Inquiry into the Witchcraft Hysteria in the Akwa-Cross Region of Nigeria,”
Stephen Atah Apebende
05 – “Witchcraft in Igbo Traditional Textile Art: A Study of the Igbo Masquerade,” Olive Adaobi Iweka
06- “A Philosophical Appraisal of Spirituality and Witchcraft through Mami Water Belief System in Igbe Cult Traditional Religion in Aguleri Cosmology”, Madukasi Francis Chuks and Kenechukwu Makwudo
07 – “The Practice of Witchcraft in Traditional Africa: A Study of the Mwaghavul Experience,” Maina, Ali Danladi
08 – The Belief in Witchcraft in Nigeria: Implications for Security and National Development,” Micheal O. Maduagwu
Session 4 11:30—1:00 PM
Witchcraft in Literature
Chair: Ven. Moses Odei Venue: BIC Ijomah Building, Room C202
01 – “Folklore and Witchcraft: The Perception of Idoma People,” Lilian Elakeche Ochekliye – Onyemachi
02 – “Process Ontology and Witchcraft as illustrated in the Ifá Literary Corpus,” Emmanuel Ofuasia
03 – “Witchcraft and the Tiv Cosmology,” Rhoda Andrea Aorabee
04 – “Witchcraft Phenomenon in IFA Literary Corpus: A Philosophical Appraisal” Emeje, Yakubu Abubakar
05 – “African Sorceress: A Warrior is Formed,” Margaret Skeel
LUNCH BREAK, 1-2:30 PM
Parallel Session 5a 2:30—4:00PM
Witchcraft and (Under) Development in Africa
Chair: Dr. Olawari Egbe Venue: BIC Ijomah Building, Room C201
01 – “Witchcraft and Underdevelopment in Modern Africa: Fiction or Reality”? Elizabeth Onogwu and Joshua Agbo
02 – “Witchcraft and its Implications on Social Harmony and Development: An Examination of the Tiv People’s Concept of Tsav,” Nenge, Terna Akambe
03 – “Witchcraft, Social Control and Primordial Adjudication in African Societies,” Tegbe Ebenezer Adekola
04 – “Perception of Witchcraft Practice in Oredo Local Government Area of Edo State, Nigeria: Implications for Social Work Practice,” Nwatu, Uche Louisa
05 – “Magical Power, a Cultural Heritage: An Assessment of the Impact of Iriji Bende in Tourism Development” Onyema, Okwu Augustina
06 – “Witchcraft: A Challenge to African Historiography” Uche Uwaezuoke Okonkwo
Parallel Session 5b 2:30—4:00PM
Witchcraft, Ageing, Disability and the Health Crisis in African Societies
Chair: Dr. Charity Uzeagbu
01 – “Mental Illness and Witchcraft: The Perspectives of Adolescents in Enugu,” J. C. Arinze, N. P. Ogbonnaya, C. E. Israel, C. Ihudiebube-Splendor, N.A Chukwujama
02 – “Witchcraft and Disability: Implications for the Implementation of Disability Policy in Africa,” Odo, Osita Kingsley
03 – “Placebo Effect, an Essential Ingredient in Witchcraft,” Nwachukwu, Francis Chukwuedozie
04 – “An Investigation of Witchcraft and Child Development in Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria: Agenda for Social Workers,” Ishanga Stanley Oloji
05 – “Witchcraft and Ageing among the Efik people of South South, Nigeria,” Akpanika, Ekpenyong Nyong
06 – “Child Witch Accusations: An Overview,” Leo Igwe
Session 6 4:00—5:30 PM
‘Witchcraft, Security and the position of the Law
Chair: Rev. Fr. Apenbende Atah Venue: Venue: BIC Ijomah Building, Room C202
02 – “Security and Witchcraft in the Traditional Beliefs and Practices of the Kilba (Huba) Community of Northern Nigeria, c. 1500 – 1922,” Samuel Wycliff
03 – “The Position of the Law in Respect of Witchcraft in Nigeria: An Exposition,” Okunowo Olaitan Oladele and Alake Adeleke
04 – “Witchcraft, Realism and Criminal Jurisprudence in Nigeria; a Decolonized Approach,”
05 – “Witchcraft and the Law: The Nigerian Perspective,” Okiche Ebelechukwu Lawretta
06 – “Witchcraft, (Mis)Governance and (In)security: Curious Linkages,” Victor Ukaogo
Session 7 5:30-7:00 PM
Theological and Ideological Dimensions to the Study of Witchcraft
Chair: Emmanuel Ibuot
01 – “Theology and Witchcraft,” Asadu Ngozi and Ihuoma Chizoba
02 – “A Biblical-Theological Evaluation of Witchcraft,” John Ezele
03 – The Nature and Effects of Witchcraft among the Tiv: An Expository Inquiry” Nguemo Dorothy Afaor
04 – “Poverty and Witchcraft Consciousness in African and Christian Worship: An Exegesis of John 6:26,” Emmanuel Ajakor and Gabriel I. Okechukwu
28 November 2019—DEPARTURE