Professor Egodi Uchendu, Director of the B.I.C Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies and Research said the protest and campaign by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) and Christian students in the University of Nigeria (UNN), against meeting of witches and wizards, will not deter them from holding the witchcraft conference.
“Freedom of speech is a fundamental human right. CAN and others are free to express their opinions just like we have the freedom to have an academic conference on witchcraft”, Mrs Uchendu, a Professor of History of the university said.
“I’m delighted that the conference is generating the debate it should across the nation. Nigerians should look critically into the subject of the conference and identify how it’s impeding our national existence and personal experience”, she added.
She said despite the cancellation of the booked venue for the conference by the authories of the UNN, the meeting will be held.
She absolved the UNN from the cancellation of the booking for Energy Centre, as venue for the conference, billed to begin 26 November.
She said the centre is owned by the Federal Government and is domiciled in the UNN.
“UNN did not deny us use of Energy Centre. Energy Centre did. Energy Centre is a Federal organ domiciled in UNN. It’s not controlled by UNN. Their decision to deny us their venue may not even be known to UNN”, she said.
The conference on witchcraft has generated controversy since it was announced that it would take place in UNN Nsukka.
Students, believing that witches and wizards would descend on UNN, during the conference, printed posters decrying the plan.
They were joined by the Christian Association of Nigeria, which escalated the opposition and urged Christians in the South East zone to embark on prayers to dissuade the organisers from holding the conference.
Chairman of CAN in the South-East zone, Bishop Dr Goddy Okafor demanded that the programme be called off immediately.
Okafor said: “I call on all Heads of Blocks, State Chairmen and other Stakeholders of Christian Association of Nigeria South-East Zone to take up aggressive prayers against the planned convention of Witches and Wizards slated to hold on November 26 at UNN.
“This convention is not of God and must not hold in Jesus name. Exodus 22:18 says, ‘Thou shalt not suffer a witch to live’.
“I hereby direct, all Christian Churches in South East of Nigeria to take up lamentation and pray against this evil movement in all our churches this coming Sunday.
“I also call upon all Christian Campus Fellowship Groups and other Christian Students’ Associations to join in this effort and stand up for JESUS CHRIST OUR LORD against this evil development in South East Of NIGERIA.”