The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AFAW) has begged Ugandan authorities to arrest religion leaders in the country who claim to have deliverance powers.
The group reportedly stated this while applauding the nation’s authorities shutting down an evangelical church in Kampala, the nation’s capital, Naija News understands.
AFAW in a statement made available to newsmen on Friday, January 8 through its coordinator, Leo Igwe, noted that many African clergies, in the quest to outnumber their rival worship centres both in finances, venture into faith healing.
Giving more insight on the reportedly closed down Evangelical church, BBC News reported that the Pastor was believed to have “treated” people with mental illnesses through prayer.”
The clergyman was, however, arrested by the police while unnumbered sick people held at the church auditorium were rescued. Naija News learnt that nine of the rescued victims were shackled to metal poles as part of the treatment process.
“Evangelical churches, as well as Islamic centers across Africa, operate faith clinics, prayer camps where they claim to provide healing services for persons with all diseases, including cancer, HIV/AIDS, and even COVID-19,” AFAW retorted.
According to Igwe, the situation had worsened in Nigeria, Ghana and Zambia due to the lack of affordable health in most African countries, adding that instead of getting their desired healing, the victims end up suffering abuses and further health damage.
He added that Africans often rush to churches, mosques and other spiritual houses whenever they are challenged because they “cannot afford the costs of evidence-based medicine or treatment, even if there are hospitals to go to.”
AFAW further noted that mental health infrastructure was inadequate while hospitals are few in the region.
The witches group, however, admonished African leaders to “explore ways of improving evidence-based mental health care in the region. Governments should make medical services available and affordable to the local population.”
While it also called on the police to “arrest pastors and imams claiming to have the powers to heal people and close down their churches and mosques too.”
The group wants pastors, imams, or anyone who claims to have the power to heal mental illness prosecuted by governments “because these medical impostors are harming, not healing people.”
“By their training, traditional, Christian, and Islamic clerics are religious, not medical experts. They have no business with mental health work. Churches, mosques, and shrines are worship centres, not hospitals,” AFAW insisted.
Meanwhile, Ogun State Police Command has arrested one Mela Samaila, a former Church security guard for allegedly stealing the Church offering box containing some undisclosed money, Naija News reports