Mob action: How alleged ‘witch’ escaped lynching in Lagos

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Dorcas Olufunke Fawale, a 35 year-old mother of one is
ostensibly happy today and thanking her stars to be counted among the living.
Her gratitude is also being shared by her mother, Mrs. Abosede Fawale and
neighbours who live at No. 2 Oremeji Street, Isolo, Lagos.
Few weeks ago it would have been a different story
as she came close to being lynched by an angry mob in a suburb of Iyana-Ejigbo
after being mistaken for a witch. It echoed a similar scenario thousands of
miles away in Port Harcourt, where four undergraduates of the University of
Port Harcourt (UNIPORT) were unlawfully killed by a dare-devil mob at Aluu
community in Rivers State.

From the early hours of the eventful day, a
bizarre tale began to spread like wild-fire that an evil bird fell and landed
in the neighbourhood and transformed into a human being. And before long a
large crowd had thronged the quiet neighbourhood and it had become a Mecca for
thousands of onlookers.
On the spot, it was a beehive of activities as
curious Lagosians struggled to get the best of the moment. When SE reporter
visited the location, the picture and videos of the alleged victim was a hot
commodity and was already selling for N200.
How Dorcas became identified as the
bird-turned-human remains a subject of mystery as several neighbours were
willing to confirm the tale. According to a resident simply identified as Mama
Wale, the prevailing theory was that a big bird was first sighted very early in
the morning by a female food vendor and before she could say Jack Robinson it
turned out to be a strange and untidy woman (later identified as Dorcas Fawale).
Panicked by the strange scenario, the food vendor
raised an alarm that attracted neighbours and vigilante groups who immediately
began to harangue and torture the alleged witch.
One resident told Sunday Express, “The witch
confessed before every one of us that she was on her way back from an evil
operation which they carried out on a victim in Ibadan. However, luck ran out
of them because the victim was at a vigil and they couldn’t resist the force of
a higher power that they encountered. She also confessed that she lives at No.
2 Oremeji Street, Isolo. ”
By midday, Policemen attached to the Ejigbo
Division of the Nigerian Police Force (NPF) intervened and took the alleged
witch into their custody. But the crowd had become restive as they grew in
their numbers. By the time Dorcas was taken into custody, the mob was already
baying for blood. At the Police Station, SE reporter observed as onlookers
crowded round every available space to grab a picture of the now famous‘witch’
of Ejigbo.
Apparently, to douse tension and disperse the
impatient crowd, the case was immediately transferred for further investigation
to Zone D Police Station, Mushin.
On the next day when Sunday Express traced the
Isolo home of Dorcas Olufunke Fawale, the atmosphere was calm and it was
business as usual. Her mother, Mrs. Abosede Fawale, a native of Modakeke, Ife,
Osun State, who is a cleaner at a primary school in the neighbourhood explained
that she was the first child out of her five children.
Looking sober and lukewarm, Dorcas, the woman in
the eye of the storm disclosed that she cannot explain how she found herself in
Ejigbo. Asked why she confessed to being a witch, she revealed that she did
that not only when the beating became too unbearable but also to pacify the mob.
To buttress her daughter’s point, Mrs, Fawale
refuted tale that Dorcas was a witch.
“Dorcas is 35 year old and has a five year old
son,” she narrates. “She has a strange ailment that seizes her like epilepsy
and it started when she was in JSS1. She attended AnsarUdeen and has seizures
as often as two to three times in a day which made her to be unable to neither
continue her education nor learn a trade. So what she does to keep body and
soul together is to help people wash clothes, clean their shops and they pay
her.”
“Whenever this thing comes, she leaves home and
will not return for days on a stretch and it was on one of such days that she
found herself in Ejigbo where people mistook her for a witch. Please help me
tell the world that my daughter is not a witch,” she cried.

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