Prophet T.B. Joshua re-unites a young girl abandoned in 1996 at the age of nine over witchcraft allegations with her mother
Oghenefejiro Iworo, a female Urhobo cultural music dancer from Ugheli, Delta was only nine years old in 1996 when she was abandoned by Esther, her mother. Her reason for taking such drastic action against her child was because the little girl was alleged to have belonged to the evil world of witches and wizards.
Esther claimed that she consulted a witch doctor in Ughelli who confirmed that her daughter was a witch and was responsible for the hardship and misfortunes she had encountered in life, including separation from her husband.
The witch doctor had taken the little girl to her shrine in Eku, tortured her by using a sharp knife to inflict deep cuts on her cheeks. The blood extracted from the deep cuts was then given to the girl to drink before she allegedly confessed that she was a witch.
The witch doctor then warned her mother that unless she disowned her daughter, she would use her power as a witch to kill her. She therefore advised her to take the girl to Badare Wegereva, her mother-in-law whom she alleged to have initiated Oghenefejiro into witchcraft.
Esther who believed what the witch doctor told her about her daughter was angry with her. She, therefore, did not hesitate to take her to her mother-in-law at the Ugheli market where she was trading, called her a witch and left the girl with her. Badare was dumbfounded as she could not understand why her daughter-in-law could publicly call her a witch and even accuse her of initiating Oghenefejiro into the witchcraft world.
Afraid that the little girl could actually be a witch as her mother claimed, Badare equally rejected her and took her to her maternal great grand mother who was in her 80s. Although the aged woman accepted her great grand daughter, she could not take care of her.
The little girl had no option than to become a street urchin. She roamed the streets begging for alms and later joined street kids who taught her how to smoke cigarette and having illicit affairs with men. No matter how Oghenefejiro tried to struggle for survival in life, the stigmatisation and abandonment by her mother continued to haunt her.
However, she later joined an Urhobo cultural dancing group but still lived a wayward lifestyle. It was in the process that she was impregnated by Dafe Iworo, a butcher from Ekakpame, Delta State who married her. Already, Oghenefejiro has given birth to a baby boy.
Unknown to Oghenefejiro’s mother, her decision to disown her own daughter 12 years ago had become a curse to her. Despite the fact that she left Ughelli for Lagos in search of greener pastures, Esther who is a caterer continued to have nightmares as she could not even fend for herself.
She, therefore, decided to seek divine intervention by going to the Synagogue Church of All Nations where T.B Joshua told her that she was suffering from a generational curse because she accused her daughter falsely of being a witch.
He told her that the curse would continue to haunt her until she is reunited with her daughter and begged her for forgiveness over the stigmatisation she was subjected to because of the accusation.
He also told her that the generational curse started from Micheal Akatakpo, her 60 year-old father who was an idol worshipper. Esther admitted that her father had similarly called her a wicth when she was nine years old. She, therefore, had to travel to Ughelli with pastors from the Synagogue Church of All Nations where they searched for her daughter until she was found. She also brought her father to the church where Joshua delivered them from the generational curse.
Joshua said it has become common for some parents to abandon their children in the streets over the allegation that they are witches. He wondered why a mother should subject her own child to such a traumatic experience. “It is rather unfortunate that a mother who carried a child in her womb for nine months or more, laboured to bring her forth, would later stigmatise the child as a witch and throw her away from her home into the street,” he said.
Worried by the trend, Stepping Stones, a UK registered charitable organisation is working in conjunction with the Child Rights and Rehabilitation Network, CRARN, to transform the lives of children who have been stigmatised as witches and wizards.
Gary Foxcroft, programme director, Stepping Stones Nigeria, said their aims are to tackle the problems of ignorance and superstitious belief in child-witchcraft as well as eradicate the torture of children stigmatised as witches.