The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Hajia Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has called on traditional leaders in the north to institute measures in their respective communities to stop the persistent killing of persons accused of witchcraft.
The Minister said the laws of Ghana do not permit anyone to take away the life of another, stressing therefore that the lynching of persons alleged to be witches is unacceptable and the society must shy away from such practices.
In an interaction with the Nayiri, Overlord of the Mamprugu traditional kingdom, Hajia Lariba indicated the lynching of alleged witches is prevalent in the north compared to the south and called for attitudinal change.
She recounted the lynching of Akua Denteh, an over 80-year-old woman at Kafaba in the Savannah region and the recent killing of a woman and man in the Mion district of the northern region over alleged witchcraft.
“I am here to appeal to my father, Nayiri, to help the government to address this issue. It is common here among our people compared to the southern part. The world is evolving and we must also change in line with best practices” she urged.
The Nayiri, Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Shariga, for his part gave his full assurance and commitment to combat the barbaric and inhumane treatment against the victims.
The Mamprugu Overlord seized the opportunity to also call for support for vulnerable groups in the society.
Meanwhile, the Gender Minister on day one of her two-day working visit to the North East and Northern regions visited the Gambaga witches camp where she interacted with the victims and made a presentation of foodstuff and secondhand clothes to the inmates.
The camp presently houses about 94 inmates including five men who have also been accused witchcraft.
The Presby Go Home Project Officer, Samson Laar, explained in an interview that the initiative is aimed at facilitating the return of the victims to their families and protecting the fundamental human rights.
“Yes, it has been difficult but we chalked a lot of successes. For instance, we have sent home about 120 women, they’re reintegrated and children with their grandparents here have been sent back to school and we also monitor the daily activities of the women to ensure they are fine and so we’re doing a lot”, he said.
However, he pointed out that accommodation remains a major challenge coupled with their feeding and healthcare.
Nonetheless, Mr. Laar welcomed the visit of the Gender Minister to obtain firsthand information pertaining to the status of the victims for the necessary intervention of the government.
The Gender, Children and Social Protection Minister briefing the media disclosed data of the vulnerable women have been taken to benefit from the Livelihood Empowerment Against Poverty (LEAP) policy.
She added the ministry has now established a toll free number for people to report early signs of threats on the lives of persons accused of witchcraft across the country.
Hajia Lariba stated the Ministry will liaise with the traditional authorities to find lasting solutions and reunite the inmates with their families as well as reintegrate back to their communities.