Despite the hard stance of the Christian Association of Nigeria, CAN, and some churches in the South East, on the international conference on witchcraft being organised by the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, support has come for the proposed confab from an unlikely source: the Christian Press Association of Nigeria, CPAN.
The association, in a press statement signed by its president, Deacon Bola Adewara, not only lampooned those raising dust against the conference but also urged Christians, even Church leaders, to attend because it might open their inner eyes and mind to a phenomenon they thought they knew.
Adewara, who is also the publisher of the highly motivational and edifying Christian magazine, e-LIFE, said having perused dispatches by the organisers, he was convinced that the conference was a purely academic exercise by the eggheads aimed at exploring how the practice of witchcraft affects mankind, vis-a-vis the modus operandi of the practitioners-witches and wizards.
Attending the conference, therefore, would avail Christians a golden opportunity to accumulate knowledge necessary to discover and truly understand how the operations of negative forces affect “our national existence and personal experiences,” as well as humanity in general.
“To fight an entity that is regarded as an enemy,” Adewara reasoned in the release, “it is wise to know it’s details. If we are ignorant of their workings, how can we fight them? The Bible does not encourage ignorance. In fact, the Bible wants every Christian to be well informed.”
Below is the full text of the press statement:
PRESS RELEASE BY CHRISTIAN PRESS ASSOCIATION OF NIGERIA (CPAN) ON THE PURPORTED WITCHES CONFAB IN UNIVERSITY OF NIGERIA, NSUKKA
At the wake of the much reported and controversial witches conference in Nsukka, the Christian Press Association of Nigeria, CPAN, hereby call on all Christian leaders in Nigeria and beyond to always exercise caution and study details of issues before engaging in condemnation and propaganda that could throw Nigerians in general and Christians in particular into needless panic.
Having studied the statements made by the organisers of the said conference, and if the statement is true as reported in the media, the event is not about witches all over the world descending on the academic community to hold conference but it is an academic exercise of research on witchcraft organised by the Centre for Policy Studies and Research of University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
According to the spokesperson of the Centre, the research is being done so that Nigerians will look critically into the subject of witchcraft with a view to identifying how it affects our national existence and personal experiences.
If this is the case, CPAN believes that Christians should even attend the conference to learn the working of witchcraft, their powers, their weaknesses and exploit this to combat the negative forces.
To fight an entity that is regarded as an enemy, it is wise to know it’s details. If we are ignorant of their workings, how can we fight them? The Bible does not encourage ignorance. In fact, the Bible wants every Christian to be well informed.
Moreover, these are intellectuals holding their meetings. It is uncertain if they are importing witches and wizards from covens and villages to Nsukka. In an academic environment, it is not certain this is their game plan. In a 21st-Century world, we should not close our minds to research efforts that could throw open facts and figures hitherto unknown that could help our cause and course in the long run.
CPAN is of the opinion that what happened during the era of Bishop Benson Idahosa in Benin City is diametrically different from this Nsukka development. The former was a convention of witches while the latter is said to be an academic research in an open place, and it is not certain if they are closing their doors to the public.
While CPAN understands the fears of CAN and the Church vis-a-vis our biblical zero tolerance for witches, we speak to the organisers of the conference to provide more information on the conference and be clear on what they want to do.
We call on the organisers of the conference to remember that in a Christian clime like Nsukka, and in a largely illiterate society like ours, such a conference is a hard shell.
The organisers should have called Church leaders in the university and the town to explain their intentions as a pure academic exercise. This would have tamed imaginations from running riot.
CPAN agrees with the Christian Association of Nigeria, South East zone, on the need to be watchful always and to caution the younger generation that could inadvertently fall into temptations from templates that seem harmless and academic. But we want the New Testament Christians to stop living in fear of witches and wizards.
If we call them powerless power, why do we give much credence to them? Why do we mention the enemies always in our prayers when we regard them as powerless? Christians must, therefore, understand that the ivory tower reserves the right to carry out their research in any area without let or hindrance.
Deacon Bola Adewara,