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Nigeria: Bauchi State Prosecuting Two on Witchcraft Charges

(July 28, 2011) It was reported on July 21, 2011 that two individuals were brought before Nigeria's Bauchi State Chief Magistrate's Court in the Warji Local Government Area on witchcraft charges. (Susan Edeh, 2 Docked in Bauchi over Alleged Witchcraft, VANGUARD (July 21, 2011).) Inspector Mato Albasu, the prosecutor in the case, alleges that the accused held a victim in thrall by witchcraft for the last four years, in violation of the Penal Code of the Bauchi State. (Id.)

Albasu claims that he has sufficient evidence for a conviction in the form of a confession from both accused individuals. According to Albasu, one of the accused confessed to taking away the spirit of the victim and giving it to a codefendant. This codefendant, alleges Albasu, corroborated this confession by stating he refused to give the spirit back because he had received it as a payment for a debt the other codefendant owed him. (Id.)

Practicing witchcraft or possession of juju is a crime in Bauchi State. The law makes it an offense for a person to claim to be a witch or to have the power of witchcraft or to threaten others with this alleged power. (Penal Code of 1960, Cap. 108, ยง 216, 2 THE LAWS OF BAUCHI STATE OF NIGERIA (rev. ed. 1991).) It is also an offense under the Code to make, use, or possess any juju, drug, or charm

which is intended to be used or reported to possess the power to prevent or delay any person from doing an act which such person has a legal right to do, or to compel any person to do an act which such person has a legal right to refrain from doing, or which is alleged or reported to possess the power of causing any natural phenomenon or any disease or epidemic. (Id.)

Violation of the above provisions is punishable on conviction by a fine and/or up to two years in prison. (Id.)