The Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, Lariba Zuweira Abudu, has appealed to traditional rulers in the north to help put an end to mistreatment meted out to persons accused of witchcraft.
She said as traditional authorities who were revered and played important roles in their respective communities, they should lead the campaign to stop the growing incidence of violence against alleged witches in the area.
The minister described the attacks and killings of individuals, particularly elderly women accused of witchcraft as barbaric and, therefore, must end now.
Hajia Lariba made the appeal when she paid a courtesy call to the Overlord of Mamprugu, Nayiri Naa Bohagu Mahami Abdulai Sheriga, at Nalerigu, as part of her working visit to the North East Region.
Her visit was to court the support of traditional authorities, as well as interact with some victims of the attacks.
According to the minister, the government was committed to protecting the rights of victims and also ending the menace.
She said her outfit had introduced a new tracking app that would enable individuals to report such incidents directly to the ministry for swift and decisive action.
Hajia Lariba added that an anti-Witchcraft Bill, a private member’s bill aimed at safeguarding individuals accused of witchcraft, would soon be passed into law.
The law, when passed, would criminalise witchcraft accusations and anyone who would be found guilty of such acts would be prosecuted.
The minister also visited the Gambaga Witches Camp where he interacted with the inmates and pledged support for them.
caretaker of the camp, Sampson Laar, acknowledged the ministry’s support to the inmates over the years and appealed for further assistance to enable them to address some pressing needs such as potable water.
The Nayiri expressed his resolve to protect the rights of vulnerable women in the area.
In line with that, he said, traditional authorities and the assemblies would collaborate and institute a bye-law to deter people from accusing the aged as witches.