The organisers of the controversial conference on witchcraft have explained the reasons behind the conference and how Nigeria could gain from it.
The two-day conference began on Tuesday at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN), Enugu, South-East Nigeria, despite the initial protest and threats from Christian communities within and outside the school.
It is organised by B.I.C Ijomah Centre for Policy Studies and Research, University of Nigeria, Nsukka.
The centre is headed by Egodi Uchendu, a professor of history and international studies in UNN.
Ms Uchendu, in her welcome remarks, said the conference would help to investigate and “critically evaluate” the belief in witchcraft to find out what impact it has on the Nigerian society as Nigerians have for too long glossed over witchcraft as an issue, and yet it has persisted, “even as people pray against witches and wizards”.
She said the centre is not cut out for pre-determined doctrines, adding that university system has a task to help in “setting up the ideological imprint of a people”.
Ms Uchendu, while weighing in on the debate about the appropriateness or otherwise of hosting the conference, said the B.I. C. Ijomah Centre desires to be a flagship research centre to “provoke intellectual reflections that guide the shaping of thoughts and the development of a pro-positive developmental mindset in Nigeria and Africa”.
On the effect of the opposition against the conference, she said the centre was asked to change the title on the conference banner and that the keynote speaker withdrew from the conference, following the protests and confusion.
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