How to Identify Witches

Witches are the bane of our lives in Nigeria, and that’s a fact! After spending years avoiding them by not going to the village or having anything to do with our illiterate relatives (because those people are prone to witchcraft), it appears that these people simply refuse to leave us alone! They’ve moved their ministry to towns and cities all across the country. The end-of-the-world is truly nigh! In fact Jesus should just come now!

As if we don’t have enough to deal with, everything is going to hell in a hand-basket! There are the feminists, the gays, the Illuminatis and all sorts that we have to battle with on cyberspace, now the witches are trying to take over!

Don’t get us wrong, we know that witches don’t really exist, it’s just that they do! They eat pregnancies, kill children, steal destinies, make people’s private parts disappear and sometimes make announcements in the newspapers concerning political parties!

Witches have taken over *insert hysteria*!

We at 9jafeminista, your ever-so-helpful-blogzine, have taken it upon ourselves, at the risk of losing our vaginas, penises, boobs and destinies,  to help you identify all the witches that might have moved into your neighbourhood, churches, offices or (horror!) homes. These helpful tips might be the saviour of your destiny, and maybe some money because you won’t have to take these people to spiritual leaders (who might charge you an arm and a leg because money is the vehicle of the ‘good news’ or is it that money is the root of all evil? But we won’t worry about those distinctions now)

The steps:

Skin tone: the first thing you have to do when meeting new people is to gauge their skin tones. As we all know black is the colour of evil, so how many shades of black is this black person you’re meeting? Is it warm brown? Dirty brown? Black-black? Dirty black? Blue-black? Night black? B-b-b-b-b-black!? The darker the skin tone of a person, the more likely they are to be witches. There are some yellow witches too but those ones are related to Mammy-Wata, so we won’t bother with those just yet. On the other hand, too much of a good thing is bad. So, those extremely yellow persons, who look as if they are newly ripened mangos, might just be witches!

Age- this is another telling indicator of witchcraft. Really old people are witches! Honestly! Look at it this way, Nigeria is the worst country in the world to grow to a ripe old age! Studies have it that the life expectation of an average Nigerian is forty years. What with the bad roads, terrible to non-existent health-care facilities, lassa fever, etcetera, forty years is even too long! So why would anyone dare to live for more than 60years and then get wrinkled and stooped, and black and talking to themselves and confessing to witchcraft… in saner climes some of these old people would have even been diagnosed with dementia, or Alzheimer’s, or depression, but luckily we are Nigerians and sanity is not our strong suit. All old people, including your granny, are witches! Avoid them at all costs! Encourage your children NOT to visit their grannies, aka your parents, because ALL OLD PEOPLE ARE WITCHES!

… Wait a second, young people are witches too! Yes we said it! Especially those ill-educated young girls from the villages. They usually come to town with all their earthly goods in a black polythene bag, most of the stuff in the bags are rags sef, in fact they wear rags all the time! We’ve heard of a young village girl whose clothes would turn to a rag as soon as she wears them, yup, like reverse Cinderella! These girls are about seven or eight years old and they’ve never been to school before in their lives! And their parents have sold them to be given out as housemaids! And they are poor because of the state of the economy and their parents can barely afford to feed them. These young witches are wicked! They don’t even take their baths even after being brought to the city! They are not to be trusted with babies! We all know there is absolutely NOTHING wrong with employing a six or seven year old as a housemaid, especially to take care of 3month old babies. There is NOTHING wrong with waking these children up at 5am to take care of our ajebutter children who can barely lift a finger! Please, please, as soon as you employ any of these children… better still don’t!

Sex – not that type you perv! We mean the sex assigned to you as soon as the doctor pulls you out of your mother’s womb and either spots a penis or a vagina. Sex is a huge determinant of whether you’re a witch or not, because, this might come as a shock to you, so brace yourself… women are witches! Yup! How many men have been accused of witchcraft and stoned to death? While you’re counting let’s just tell you something, it’s only women that are witches, especially and particularly poor women, or single to stupor women, or women who do not meet up with the current societal standard of beauty, or women who have not taken refuge under the benevolent patriarchal arms and conformed to societal rules or women who have crossed eyes, or women who have beards or women whose mouth are too sharp, or women who don’t have children, or women who are really not womanly enough, but most importantly, they are poor women, disempowered women, women suffering from mental health problems, women who are not soft enough.

There are too many women out there who are witches and we need to strip them down (very important to humiliate them) and then stone them. We’ll need a lot of stones though because these women make up the larger part of the society. But we can do this! Stone every single one of them, one woman at a time! Are we misogynists? No we don’t hate women! We are Nigerians, and we love our women with big bum-bums and tits! It’s just that those women who have turned down our advances and women who think too highly of themselves and women who don’t have big yanshes are witches! Women who refuse to SUBMIT, should be stoned to death, all of them!

Defying Gravity: THIS RIGHT HERE IS THE GREATEST OF THEM ALL! Kai! How can a mere human being defy gravity! Defying gravity comes in different forms, from jumping all the time, to putting your legs on the wall when you’re asleep, to morphing into birds (big black birds particularly, don’t forget black is the colour of ugly and evil) and to levitating. Hian! We’ve all read or watched badly filmed shots of old black women morphing into birds and FLYING! We all know about planes and helicopters and other things that fly, although most of us don’t know how these things perform this feat but we climb into planes without giving it a second thought! But the moment we smell a human being flying we just KNOW that these people are witches! Especially and particularly if they are dark skinned and are women. Flying is a sin! Are we sinners when we fly in an airplane? No! Should we be stoned to death? No! but the moment we hear that a non-oyinbo person is flying or has flown we congregate and stone the person to death because those people are witches! We do enjoy watching movies about monsters and vampires and human beings morphing into animals, well as long as they are Hollywood movies, those Nollywood people know how to treat such sin! Anybody who can fly in say, England or America would obviously be taken an interest in by the government and scientifically analysed, their methodology thoroughly studied. In Nigeria we stone them to death because we do not tolerate such nonsense! We like ourselves the way we are, our Ministry of ‘Science and Technology’ will soon be inventing pencils… you heard me right! We are just in the nick of time because pencils are yet to be invented. We are not backwards, we are forwards, we are brilliantly, shamelessly, and insanely fearful of anything that’s in the least different! Let fear continue to dodge our footsteps, let it rule us, let fear eat us from the insides out, that’s the way we’ve survived all these years by fearing even our shadows.

We hope these helpful tips will continue to guide and guard us throughout our lives, we shall continually tell our children and ourselves not to read books by Nigerians or other Africans about fantasy, although they can read ‘furreign’ books so they can acquire ‘furrigne’ accents and speak through their nostrils, ‘nspirin nspirin’. Do NOT let us progress beyond an economy of consumerism, do not let us invent anything new. Let our young women and men ‘disrupt’ how we import shit from other countries, while those other countries invent new things.

Finally, if all else fails we advise you to do The Mirror Test

The Mirror Test: This test has been passed down from one generation of witch-hunters to the next, the steps are very simple:-

  1. Clean your mirror with soft cloth and white powder. Make sure it is sparkling.
  2. Cover the mirror at 12midnight with a white cloth. Note that the mirror must be COMPLETELY COVERED.
  3. Have a good night’s rest knowing that the witches haunting you shall be revealed soon
  4. After 24hrs (i.e. 12 midnight the following day)
  5. Take off all your clothes, including your underwear
  6. Stand in front of the covered mirror
  7. Close your eyes
  8. Shout ‘Yeepa!’ Thrice
  9. Pull off the mirror covering
  10. The person you’re seeing in that mirror? That’s the witch eating your destiny!

Wait… can any of you explain how the internet works?

“You’re damn too ugly not to be a wintch!” And other gists

From the Editor: According to a large percentage of Nigerians, witchcraft is the root cause of all their problems. Parents, children, extended family members and whole communities have been abandoned because of this spiritual problem, David surmised the problem of witchcraft perfectly in the piece he wrote for 9jafeminista, “witches were wicked … witches were just bad luck.”

Two weeks ago, Nigerian Twitter was abuzz with the news of an old woman who was caught ‘shapeshifting’ from a BIG BLACK BIRD into an old woman, and a few days ago, another old woman was accused of witchcraft because she was caught on the rooftop of a church, the question being asked was ‘how did she get there except she flew?’ – nobody considered this, that maybe – she got on there because she climbed a ladder, she climbed the ladder because she was suffering from dementia…

Although The Spanish Inquisition, was originally instituted by Catholic Monarchs, Ferdinand II of Aragon and Isabella I of
Castile in 14th Century Spain to regulate orthodoxy (aka killing Jews), one of the ways it helped was by also cleansing country of witches. A lot of women were tortured and often hung once they’ve been accused of witchcraft. The Great Witch Craze took place across modern Europe and their Colonies in North America (it peaked between 1580 and 1630) in which over 40,000 people (mostly women) were killed for being ‘satanic witches’ (this brings to mind the great David Oyedepo who slapped a young girl across the face in 2011 for claiming to be a ‘witch for Jesus’ – so you see, whether you’re a satanic witch or a witch for Jesus, you simply can’t win).

The point of this whole story, is that over the centuries women all over the world have been on the receiving end of death sentences and lynchings once the accusation of witchcraft has been leveled against them.

The root of the problem of course is power, because most people accused of witchcraft are the powerless – poor women, old women, people suffering from one form of mental health disorder or the other, single ladies defying the society and remaining unmarried, women considered prostitutes, non-conformists, and even people that do not meet with the society’s standards of beauty during that period (aka you’re damn too ugly not to be a wintch!).


Although young children are also regularly accused of practicing witchcraft,(in Nigeria they are referred to as Ogbanjes), in most cases parents resort to spiritual means to ‘cleanse’ their wards and children of witchcraft. However, between 2008 and 2011 there was an intense hunt for ‘child witches’ in Nigeria, specifically in Akwa Ibom, a state in the Eastern part of Nigeria. The hunt was led by Helen Akpabio, a self-proclaimed evangelist and ‘deliverance minister’, who specialized in ‘delivering’ children from the spirit of witchcraft through several means, including prayers, whippings, starvation and imprisonment. The ‘delivered’ children are often returned to their parents, but the ones who refuse to ‘vomit’ witchcraft are often driven from their homes, poisoned or taken to orphanages.

9jafeminista was able to find one of such accused children who was barely 10years old when he and his sisters were accused of being witches by their father because he was going through a difficult financial period (which is commonplace in a Nigeria suffering from economic woes and over 60% of its citizens are living in poverty, a poverty whose root cause is corruption).

David contributed a piece about his and his sister’s experiences in this blog. During which he talked about what they went through after they were diagnosed with witchcraft by their Pastor’s wife. We decided to have a chat with him … read on.

9jafeminista: Tell us a little about yourself

David: Well, there’s not too much to tell. I’m 22 and in the final year of an undergraduate programme in Electrical/Electronics Engineering, I’ve almost always lived in Uyo and when I’m not busy with schoolwork (which is like always), I stroll around the internet, read and listen to the radio.

9jafeminista: Radio, that’s a new one, It’s difficult to envisage a young netizen listening to the radio. Is there any special reason why?


David: I’ve always been around radios. First, because Deeper Life people didn’t own TV sets (my dad was one for a while), then later because I discovered the BBC world service and I fell in love with their programmes and documentaries.

9jafeminista: Future plans include the radio?

David: Not really. Right now I co-host a weekly tech show with a friend on Akwa Ibom state radio but what I’d really want to do is work as a researcher or scriptwriter. Presenting is not my biggest strength. Or so I think. But first, we chase oil company job with our engineering degree (smiles)

9jafeminista: I must say your creative non-fiction piece is so well written, some of our readers might think it’s actually fiction. It has all the ingredients of a good story and the right amount of suspense. But there’s also a wealth of anger and sadness between the lines… so how did you cope? With your parents after they accused you and your sisters of witchcraft, with missing your sisters for ten years. How did you manage to survive it all?

David: Thing is I was quite young [when it happened] and for a while I lived in denial. People would ask where my sisters disappeared to and I’d immediately push out some nice story I’d cooked up. So, I didn’t really feel it. As I grew up though and spent more time talking to my sisters, I grew very angry. I didn’t understand why a parent would ship their kids off to an “orphanage” simply because of some prophecy or whatever it was. I didn’t think of it then too much. I just survived. I still saw my sisters once in a while when we’d visit


9jafeminista: What about your mum? Did she just fold her arms and watch it happen? Didn’t she protest?

David: I didn’t really know. Adults didn’t share too much with children then. What I remember is she warning me not to discuss the issue with the neighbourhood kids. Something about maintaining family pride or so.

9jafeminista: So how are your sisters doing?

David: Good really. Elder sis is graduating from pharmacy this year. Not planning any party for my own graduation but my sister’s will be major. Real tragedy was with my younger sis. You see my younger sis came back from this orphanage pregnant. She hadn’t even turned 18 then. When I found out, I just couldn’t wrap my head around it. Kept blaming the old man for exposing her to such dangers by keeping her there for so long and in my head I was like ‘why is it okay for her to return now? It’s not like she was delivered from the witchcraft or anything. Why is she suddenly not dangerous now?’

9jafeminista: Did she tell you how she got pregnant?

David: There was a boy who’d grown up there too. That’s what she said.

9jafeminista: Did she keep the pregnancy?

David: She did. Baby turned two this year so I’m hoping she’ll get admission next year to resume school

9jafeminista: I’m so glad she’s trying to get her life together. Actually you sound so much like their dad… You’re very protective of them.

David: My sisters are the real heroes. I just do the occasional roforofo [translation: troublemaking] here and there (smiles)

9jafeminista: Has this in any way affected your relationship with your parents?

David: (laughs) hope this won’t sound like too much tragedy but my mom passed when I was in JSS3. Me and the big man are not too particularly close. He tries as a dad. But we’re not too close

A typical ‘deliverance’ session

9jafeminista: It’s not a tragedy because you all survived it. Getting on with your lives. And you are a better man and your sisters are strong women and that’s what’s important. This is a story of triumph. What would you say is the greatest lesson you’ve learnt from this?

David: Well like I keep saying the danger witches portend, if they exist (I’ve since become agnostic) is nothing compared to the evil that goes on because we’re scared of witches/witchcraft. And no, religious bodies do not have all the answers. Religious organizations should stick to what they were originally called to do and leave matters outside their purview to the professionals trained to handle such. Apart from witches, there was a mad chap chained to one of those deliverance churches they took us to. I don’t know what eventually happened to him. The prayer warriors were trying to deliver him from his demons too. Funny now remembering that they would minister to him chained. Nobody wants to test their Jesus before a raging unchained mad man. I think they moved us to another church shortly after then.

Confessions of a ‘Child Witch’ – by David


It was between the late 90s and early 2000s, when Y2K was still a thing and we would burn time reading the stories in G.F. Oyor’s ‘Who Needs Deliverance’. Ever so often, we’d slip into our landlord’s parlour to watch one of those Liberty Films, on VHS tapes, about witchcraft and Jesus’ victory over the powers of darkness. We had private primary education, we were winning all the Bible quizzes at church and reciting Psalm 91 on Children’s Day, proving that mom’s Bible-teaching investment was paying returns. We were flying in school and three of us consistently remained top of our individual classes.

Life was good … till IT happened.

Helen Ukpabio the lady who ‘delivers’ children from witchcraft by abusing them

It wasn’t a single incident but a string of occurrences that I’m sure would have read like those stories in the G.F. Oyor’s book if they’d been written down. Daddy was going through a rough patch and momsy was trying unsuccessfully to get a job with her degree in Microbiology… and we were busy spoiling daddy’s radios and breaking his lamps with our destructive spirits. By the time the old boy considered the headache his extended family was giving him, it was obvious to anyone who had watched Helen Ukpabio in ‘End of the Wicked’ that this was a case where someone needed deliverance and so sleep disappeared and the nights became longer, filled with prayer points from ‘Dangerous Prayers Volumes 1 & 2’.

8If you slept off while the whole family was attempting to escape calamity, daddy’s kicks would wake you up. Sometimes you’d get flogged so bad you’d run out of the house to sit on the verandah to consider your welts and wait for the day to break.

Some nights, your aunt would join you to sit on the verandah after her failed attempts to obtain mercy for you on the grounds that you were just a kid.

It wasn’t long before we were all summoned before the pastor’s wife, who apparently had experience in handling those type of matters. The interrogation was straight to the point: what our dreams were about, if we ate in the dream, if we flew, if we found ourselves near water… I don’t recall which happened first, but in a few months of life challenges the old man and lady were facing, we were diagnosed with witchcraft.

child witch
Is this what a child witch looks like?

Witches were wicked. Witches spoilt with their parent’s electronics with their destructive tendencies. Witches were just bad luck. The Bible had warned that one should “suffer not a witch to live”. Witchcraft was why parents would warn us not to accept biscuits or sweet from any of our classmates lest they turned up at night calling us away to meetings at the coven with that notorious modified puff-puff chant. Biscuit, biscuit, biscuit…

My elder sister buckled under pressure of the long periods of starvation and fasting, periods of being away from school and told the pastor’s wife what she’d yearned to hear.

Yes, she had weird dreams. Yes, she had been initiated. Yes, they had given her some weird assignments to do. No, she wasn’t alone, my younger sister was also one of them.

That year was my worst result in primary school. My now frail memory says I placed 27th.

6We were out of school and always in church deliverance meets: from Mustard Seed Assemblies to Assemblies of God, prayer warriors tried to get us to vomit the witchcraft that was making life so difficult for our parents. I remember sitting on the pew, exhausted from the 6 to 6 fasts, listening to a young prayer warrior command my sister to vomit that seed of witchcraft. It was in her stomach, then it moved to her throat, then it stuck there and stopped, refusing the command to move to her mouth.

They finally got shipped off to an orphanage and rehabilitation home for kids. I’ve never really understood why they didn’t ship me along considering my destructive and evil streak.

My sisters spent almost ten years in that place before someone decided that they weren’t witches and it was safe to have them move home and c9ook for my father. They wouldn’t put witchcraft in his food, they wouldn’t give witchcraft to any of my younger siblings either. They were either delivered or were

never witches.

I didn’t bother to ask which was which. I don’t think much about that period and my memories from then are scanty. My head does this thing where it refuses to recall memories that spur a burning knot of anger in my chest and I would suppose that even though my family never really survived the drama of that period, we were maybe luckier than those who had been burnt with hot irons and boiling rings on account of witchcraft.

But the ignorance and gullibility still annoys me all the same and really, sometimes I don’t just understand how life could be so screwed.