Friday, July 30, 2021 2:49 pm
At a point in the history of Europe, women accused of witchcraft were burnt at the stakes. That even brought about the myths of the Salem (Massachusetts, USA) witch trials. In contemporary times, people who are accused of the same vice are tried on social media. The trauma the latter causes is as terrible as the ones in history. That was why Mrs Balikis Omoloja-Akerele, a 74-year old grandmother, sent a petition to the Deputy Inspector-General of Police, Force Criminal Investigation Department, Abuja, and the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos, to, according to The Punch report, “investigate and bring to justice those peddling falsehood about her on social media.”
In other words, she said certain individuals, according to the report, had been circulating rumours on Facebook that she confessed to witchcraft, adding that the allegation had exposed her to attack and ridicule. She added that she was in Ibadan, Oyo State, “tendering to a sick child when she got a call from the United States of America that her photo and that of her daughter, Ajoke Akerele-Falana, were posted on Facebook that she confessed to witchcraft.”
She went further: “I was told that those people wrote that I killed my children and those of my rivals so that I could get promotion in the spirit realm. I was wondering who was behind it, and I was told it was one Adewale.
“I was sad and bitter at the posts because nothing of such happened. A few days later, I received a call that another post had been made on Facebook and they claimed that they had evidence that I confessed to witchcraft. It immediately occurred to me that people, who could peddle such falsehood, could also kill me.
“Due to the posts, my children became afraid for my safety and came to pick me up in Ibadan. The sick child I was caring for became sad. I begged some nurses to take care of the child for me, so I left for Akure, Ondo State.
“Shortly afterwards, they posted again that I had left Ibadan for Akure. That was when it dawned on me that I was being monitored. In my town, if anyone confesses to witchcraft, such a person will be stoned to death. The child I left eventually died. The government should save me from these people. Anywhere that I truly confessed, they should be made to present the evidence.”
As reported by The Punch, her lawyer, Oluwole Kehinde, had already petitioned the DIG and AIG over the allegation.
“Kehinde, who is the Principal Partner, OKC Attorneys, said in a petition dated July 12, 2021, that the false claims forced the septuagenarian into hiding.
Screenshots of the purported Facebook posts attached to the petition showed that Adewale and others on June 18, 2021, alleged that the grandmother confessed to witchcraft in Ibadan.
Kehinde said the attack was sponsored to destroy his client’s family name.
He said coincidentally, some days after the coordinated posts, the woman’s family lost two members in quick succession, which appeared to have given credence to the allegation against her.”
The petition stated, “Through their various posts and comments on Facebook, they misled innocent members of the public, especially from our client’s immediate community of Owo in Ondo State, to develop hatred, venom, contempt and threat of physical attack against our client.
“They have caused her excessive annoyance, inconvenience, danger, insult, injury, criminal intimidation, enmity, hatred, ill will and needless anxiety, thereby forcing her to go into involuntary hiding for fear of attack, abduction or being killed.”