On July 23, 2023, this reporter travelled to Bukka village, a few kilometers away from headquarter of Mokwa to meet with an old-sick woman who was accused of witchcraft in Central Nursery and Primary School Mokwa (Yeko Rabba).
This reporter and his fixer alighted at the village at exactly 2.56 pm. When inquiring about the location of the Nnaba’s house, an old-sickly woman accused of witchcraft by Hassan Patigi, a middle-aged man selling black market petrol told this reporter that Nnaba had died.
“She has died, not long after she returned from Mokwa.”
This reporter requested to speak to the victim’s relatives but he denied knowing any of them. After persuasion, he directed the reporter to the victim’s brother called Alhaji. The brother didn’t want to narrate his late sister’s ordeal to WikkiTimes. He said he had forgotten about the matter and surrendered the case to God Almighty.
Before her death, the sick woman battled with infectious diseases over her body. Nna’ba visited the faith healer, seeking help over her aged-long disease but was accused of witchcraft and shamed publicly.
“Immediately, I learnt that my sister, who went to Mokwa to seek healing for her illness, was accused of witchcraft by Hassan Patigi, I phoned someone in Mokwa, pleading with him to rescue her from the mob and God willing, she came home alive,” he said .
The sick Nnaba who was accused of witchcraft.
Pategi coerced the ailing woman into admitting she was a witch, but she refused to make such a declaration, WikkiTimes learnt.
The victim’s brother declined to provide further information, stating that the family had entrusted their concerns to the supreme creator. “I won’t comment on the issue, but we surely belong to Allah, and to Him, we shall return.”
He said the family had moved on since the departure of his sister, asserting that the Creator would ultimately judge everyone’s actions.
Similarly, in the same year, Hajiya Hawau Umar, who suffered from rheumatism in her shoulder, was accused of witchcraft. Pategi’s guards, armed with his healing water, stripped the alleged victim naked and subjected her to a beating.
The woman later told WikkiTimes that she sought relief for her constant pain at Pategi’s healing centre. However, she was accused of intending to bewitch and kill the monarch.
The alleged victim’s in-law, Kawu Sadu, who spoke before the victim, explained the circumstances surrounding the incident. According to Sadu, the victim suffered from rheumatism in her left shoulder and had hoped that her sickness would disappear after seeking help from Hassan Patigi.
“When Hassan came to Patigi, the victim traveled to Patigi but couldn’t see the marabout due to the crowd in his center.” A young man from their community, who worked with Hassan Patigi, witnessed the alleged victim’s struggle to meet the marabout and later facilitated her entry in the presence of their monarch.
Excited to meet the marabout in the presence of their emir to alleviate her shoulder pain, the victim was instead accused of witchcraft and plotting to kill their monarch.
“Hassan came to the emir’s palace of Etsu Umar Bologi II to attend to royal families only, but Hajiya was at the palace door,” Sadu explained. Hassan’s guard, who promised to facilitate their meeting, ushered her inside the palace.
Unlike other victims who spoke with trepidation, Hajiya Hauwau Umar confidently shared her ordeal with WikkiTimes, stating that she was falsely accused and labeled a witch in the presence of their monarch in Patigi.
Despite her defense, Hassan accused her of being a witch and ordered his guards to detain her.
However, the emir intervened, instructing that she be set free since she claimed not to be a witch. On her way out of the palace, Hassan’s guards seized her phone, limiting her ability to contact her family. She recounted being stripped naked, while seven guards threw water sachets at her.
She was then dragged to the stage naked where Pategi’s guard continued to pelt her with water.
Hajiya Hawau stripped naked
In addition to Hawau, Hassan Patigi was reported to have subjected numerous accused witches to public nudity, thereby violating their human rights and subjecting them to a series of tortures, as gathered by WikkiTimes. Furthermore, he compelled the victims to engage in continuous physical combat with each other until they were exhausted. These actions highlight a disturbing pattern of abuse and infringement on the basic rights of those accused of witchcraft under Hassan Patigi’s influence.
On December 20, 2017, the National Assembly enacted a Federal law (Anti-torture act) that further criminalised all forms of torture. The law was signed into law by former president, Muhammadu Buhari.
Stripping a person naked is described as a torture. The act prescribes punishment for any law enforcement agent that stripes any person naked. It also prescribes punishment for heads of unit/departments where a person was stripped naked as well as for any officer that watches such acts. By Federal law, the punishment for stripping any person naked (or any other form of torture) is imprisonment for not more than 25 years without an option of fine.
“Torture includes beating, deprivation of food, rubbing of pepper/ chemicals, assuming of stressful bodily positions, rape, exposure to cold/sunlight, use of drugs and blindfolding, threat, prolonged interrogation, unscheduled transfer of persons, secret detention and denial of sleep, shaming and stripping naked and parading in public.”
Subsequently, the victim was returned to her ancestral home. However, she faced ongoing challenges, nearly losing her senses whenever she ventured outside her house. The faith-healer was compelled to publicly seek her forgiveness on his stage in the Mokwa community of Niger State.
Reflecting on her ordeal, she expressed, “My health condition became so critical that it affected my children emotionally.” She has since been undergoing medical checkups regularly since the traumatic incident occurred.
Drug prescribed/Photo Credit: Yunusa Umar
However, she acknowledged that it had been a while since she last visited the hospital for a medical examination.
“When I went to the hospital, I was prescribed drugs to reduce rheumatism pain,” she shared with the reporter, expressing gratitude to Mallam Sanusi Lafiagi for defending her and ensuring the faith-healer publicly apologised.
Usman Salihu, a photographer who had previously covered the activities of the self-proclaimed Islamic teacher, confided in WikkiTimes. He revealed that unhealthy individuals were never healed by the marabout, contradicting the healer’s claims.
“He was not able to heal anyone. Anyone who says he healed or did anything out of the ordinary is a liar,” Salihu stated, describing the marabout as a charlatan. According to Salihu, the marabout was a psychopath and had even claimed to be mad for twenty-five years. He expressed astonishment that many people did not recognise the madness evident in the marabout’s utterances, behaviour and mannerisms.
Salihu, who had filmed Patigi’s activities, eventually withdrew his presence from the Patigi center after witnessing the torture of an elderly woman accused of witchcraft with a stun-gun.
Old woman accused of witchcraft tortured with stun-gun
“The old woman who was tortured should have been an octogenarian, and the extent of the torture was unimaginable,” he expressed, elaborating that Hassan Patigi had surrounded himself with numerous heartless individuals who appeared normal but actively participated in torturing innocent people, contributing to his perceived invincibility.
According to Salihu, “He was practicing as a marabout in Liberia before he came to Mokwa to defraud people and subjected innocent people to embarrassment and torture.” This revelation sheds light on the marabout’s dubious history and the extent of the harm inflicted on unsuspecting individuals in the community.
Patigi’s Liberia’s ID card
Hassan Patigi, Salihu told this reporter, could not recite Quranic verses coherently yet, he claimed to be a scholar.
“I have not met anyone who lies as much as he does. He lied against me too and almost caused a fight between me and my paternal uncle and his children”.
Checks by WikkiTimes’ reveal that Hassan Patigi is not actively working as marabout. His miracle center was filled with emptiness of unhealthy and healing people when this reporter visited his residence in Patigi on 20th, July.
Marabout Center in Patigi/ Photo credit: Yunusa Umar
‘Shamed, Tortured, Human Rights Violated’
On August 2, this reporter embarked on a journey to Lachin, a suburb village under Enagi of Edati Local Council of Niger State, arriving at exactly 11.19 am in the morning.
The fixer who scheduled time to meet the alleged witches warned that this reporter should desist from visiting the village as this reporter has to traverse through a river to meet the victims but our reporter insisted on speaking to the victims.
“We can call him to cross over the river to this place,” he said, fearing that the villagers may react violently when approached over the matter.
With fear, he pointed to where this reporter and his team would later cross to the other part to speak with the victim. A ferry-boat was on the river where a young paddler, Liman, ferried us to the other side.
“When it rains heavily now, the flowing river becomes too much to handle and we charge commuters N100, N200 and beyond,” he said, while paddling the wooden-boat.
He added that the flowing water had damaged plantations in the past.
Mohammed Abubakar, a father of many who was accused of witchcraft and forced to urinate on each other’s mouths, had finished praying when this reporter met with him in his parlour. The victim narrated his ordeal to WikkiTimes that he was wrongly accused of witchcraft.
“I was lied against. I wasn’t the only one accused of witchcraft”, he aptly told this reporter.
When this reporter asked whether they were taken to Hassan’s miracle center in Mokwa, he replied, “Yes, of course, and he persecuted us.”
He feared to disclose many details to this reporter but their monarch’s son was sick and probably suffering from typhoid fever which he was mentioning his name and other victim, Danjuma.
According to him, “the village head’s son was sick and was mentioning my name. So, his father said that I was bewitching his son. I wasn’t the only one accused. We were two”.
The two victims were later told to visit Hassan Patigi in Mokwa to attest whether they bewitched the village head’s son or not.
While reaching the faith-healer’s center, the faith-healer had said witches and wizards would dance whenever music was played. But the aged father didn’t dance afterwards.
“When we got there, we were told that when music is played. Witches and wizards dance to it,” he told WikkiTimes in fear and his body shaking. “When music was played, I said to them, “why would I dance when I’m not a wizard.”
Hassan later said that the alleged witches were questioning his authority. Also, those who brought him to the marabout’s healing center said he was full of pride. The faith healer later violated the alleged victims’ human rights by subjecting them to inhumane torture and stripping them naked in public.
“Those who brought me to his place were saying that I was full of pride. And then, Hassan started throwing a sachet of water at me, hitting me with a sachet of water,” he said.
Man alleged of witch/Photo Credit: Yunusa Umar
He continued: “I have not been to any hospital. I only went to doctors when I fell sick in Mokwa after the incident while staying in Mokwa for a year.” That was when I went to the hospital to receive injections.
“I can see little with this one but can’t see with this one anymore. I still feel some pain in my body till now.
“When he was about to ask us to go, he asked me to urinate on my partner’s mouth.
“When I told him that I don’t feel like urinating. He asked me to lie down and have my partner urinate in my mouth. Some people there were beating me with sticks. I’m not a wizard.”
The accused victim has been left to bear the brunt of torture subjected to him by the divine-healer. No organisation or group has been firmly standing for the accused victims to seek justice for them. The aged victim told this reporter to stop filming him, pleading to record only his words.
In the gripping tale of surviving the grief suffered by Hassan Patigi in Mokwa area, the victim narrated that his health has not been the same. His eye is visionless by the torture caused by the marabout also his body still gripped in pain.
“My health is in critical condition but what can I do now?” he asked this reporter. “I have left whatever the case may be in the hands of the supreme creator. God has a solution to everything.”
“I didn’t expect such a thing would happen to me. Only God knew how I was dehumanised and tortured in Mokwa. I was raised on the shoulder while the other person was stripped naked,” he told WikkiTimes with his eyes filled with tears.
Before this reporter was to wind up an interview with Abubakar, he worried that this reporter should not further draw him trouble, maintaining that he had stopped talking about how he was falsely accused.
The victim’s son, Jibrin Mohammed Lanchi, who curtly interrupted his father while speaking, said the family was drained financially as his father was taken to hospital.
Lanchi recounted that his family spent N160,000 on his father’s health after he was dehumanised by Hassan.
“As of then, we spent about N160,000 on the eye alone,” he recounts. “We were pained that we are not the only victims. Sometimes, when I reminisce about how the situation went, I get lost. It often breaks my heart,” he told WikiTimes.
Also, the effort to meet Danjuma, the other partner tormented and accused of witchcraft proved abortive as this reporter was told that he was in his farm working during this reporter’s visit in August.
Kutigi and Patigi Monarchs Crowned Him
He stripped many naked and extorted vulnerable victims in the villages that he toured. WikkiTimes can authoritatively report that he was crowned by some monarchs who were satisfied with his devilish acts of declaring innocent victims as witches.
For instances, in Kutigi community of Niger State, he was crowned Mukadami (leader of Arabic teachers) in the district by Alhaji Hussaini Abubakar Woncin (Ezonuwan)
He was crowned to protect powerless members of the community but dehumanised many innocent victims.
Hassan Patigi with Kutigi’s monarch
According to a Facebook post by one of his media’ man, Idris Gana, “Hassan Patigi said from today Friday 28th of August 2020, the witches of Kutigi town are powerless and they can go to meetings, fly at night but can’t kill any soul”.
Also, the monarch of Patigi, HRH Alhaji Ibrahim Umar Bologi, crowned him the Sarki Mallami (leader of teachers) but his title was later withdrawn because he was discovered to be a fake healer.
Bologi, the monarch of Patigi
A source in the community said, “the title was removed because Emir later discovered that he is a fake mallam”.
Dr Leo: Witchcraft Activist Speaks Against His Inhumane Actions
In an interview with WikkiTimes, Dr. Leo Igwe, an international humanist, Nigeria Human rights and advocates of against stigmatisation of women as witches, urged that perpetrators be brought to book, adding that efforts should be made to hold them accountable.
In his words, “the abuses were repulsive and should be condemned. Efforts should be made to hold him accountable. Bring him to justice and get him to answer for his crimes,” adding that witchcraft accusation and torture is a crime under the law.
According to United Nations, torture is condemned from the outset as one of the vilest acts perpetrated by human beings on their fellow human beings. Torture is a crime under international law. According to all relevant instruments, it is absolutely prohibited and cannot be justified under any circumstances.
Describing a video of alleged witches filmed in Patigi’s center, Dr. Igwe said, “It is horrible, unconscionable and intolerable,” adding that “witchcraft accusation is a crime under the law.”
“It doesn’t matter where this illegality is committed,” he said, adding, “either at a miracle or holy center that is immaterial.”
He emphasised that such perpetrators should be brought to book.
Dr. Igwe added that it was outrageous, insane and should make any person of conscience shudder or cringe. “It was indicative of the social decadence that is engulfing and choking our society to death”.
He also cautioned families of any deceased or sick people to visit medical experts to ascertain sickness or the cause of their relatives’ death.
“There should be public health education and awareness programmes. People should take their sick relatives to hospital, follow medical advice and stop patronizing faith healers, diviners and charlatans like Hassan Patigi,” he advised.
“When people are sick or are dead, relatives want to know the cause. They should go to medical experts, conduct an autopsy”, he said. “They shouldn’t go to prophets, marabout, diviners and other faith healers.”
In an interview with Abdullateef Lanre Abdullahi (also known as Ibn Abdillah As-sudaisiy Al-Iloori), an Islmaic Scholar, lawyer, and public affairs analyst,it is wrong for anyone to claim that he/she heals.
“No one can heal except Allah,” he told WikkiTimes, explaining that there are ways to cure sickness by seeking medical treatment which are produced and prescribed by an expert for a patient.
Abdullahi added, “When healing through this means, we should note that only Allah can heal while the drugs are just a kind of trying means to cure sickness.”
He noted that there were herbal and orthodox medicines but he warned followers of the prophet to desist from using magic powers.
“Inasmuch as those medicines do not involve magic powers then they can be used by the muslims,” he added, saying that it works for some. “Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon) prescribed medicine for one to use by the knowledge Allah gave him. Some of the medicines he prescribed were called “Abbatul_saudah”(purify water),” he said.
“For those that claim, they have powers to heal people. If his means of healing above is the kind of power he possesses, there is no problem with that. Only Allah can make it work. Now another way is to pray to Allah to wash away the sickness”, he said, citing that Nnabiyullah Ahyub (allaiyin sallatul wasalami ) had been sick for many years and he prayed and his prayer was accepted.
He however stated that the person would observe prayer and seek from Allah but shouldn’t boast of himself that his prayer will be accepted.
The cleric therefore told WikkiTimes that Islam forbids Muslims to visit marabout, claiming to have magic power.
“Those who claim that they have some power or miracle. It is not acceptable in Islam under sharia and no muslim should go to them because they are imitating the ways of qufahr (Christians)”.
According to him, “Islam is not built upon the performance of miracle when talking of miracle that belongs to Allah and the only one that makes miracle happens in the hands of his prophets and among the few chosen ones and when miracle is perform by the prophet Muhammad, it is called muhajiza.”
He added that one of the miracles performed by the Prophet was that he spoke to the corpses who lost lives during the battle, adding that some prophets and noble messengers of Allah were given golden opportunity to do some miracles.
In his words, “anyone claiming to perform miracles and doing things that are not in the right way. Like the one that doesn’t pray, marrying more than four wives and some other things contrary to the ways of Islam can be easily identified by anyone. Such ones are fake prophets in this modern world”.
Hassan Patigi with his wives
“It is not permissible to strip anyone naked, regardless of their offense,” he told WikkiTimes. He said if someone is found guilty of wrongdoing, the proper course of action is to bring them before the appropriate authorities for punishment.
He advised Muslims to stop consulting marabouts and claiming that someone is bewitching them or asking marabouts to predict their future. Instead, he urged Muslims to fervently pray to Allah for assistance in resolving their problems, rather than seeking guidance from soothsayers, as such actions could lead them away from Islam. He cited a Hadith in which the Prophet stated that those who visit soothsayers will have their prayers delayed for 40 days, and believing in what a marabout says can lead them astray.
The cleric further explained that anyone claiming to possess the power to enable a woman to give birth is essentially asserting god-like abilities, which goes against the principles of Islam. He said only Allah has the power to grant the gift of childbirth, and anyone making such claims is, in his view, an unbeliever and not a true Muslim.
Abubakar Kpada, a medical practitioner who conducted pregnancy tests for extorted and barren women in the Patigi community of Kwara State, clarified that he was not the head of the medical practitioners at the center.
“I have superiors, but I was one of the medical practitioners who conducted pregnancy tests,” he said.
When asked how a pregnancy test could yield a positive result immediately after sexual intercourse, he attributed it to the power of God, stating, “God is capable of doing everything and knows everything. Those blessed by God successfully gave birth, while the unlucky ones did not.”
He also claimed that they conducted positive tests for barren women, which then turned negative after leaving their medical facility. However, he could not recall the exact fees charged to these women and ended the call when further questioned by WikkiTimes.
Yaswasu, another medical practitioner who conducts pregnancy tests in the Mokwa community, told WikkiTimes that many of the tests he conducted were positive but provided no further explanation. He attributed the outcomes to the will of God, stating, “It was God’s will. When God creates a path for you, it serves a purpose.” He also claimed that Patigi had not known him prior to their meeting.
He confirmed that they charged N500 from each barren couple as test fees and that some tests yielded positive results while others were negative. However, he did not provide additional details when questioned further.
In response to our findings, Hassan Patigi, the self-proclaimed Islamic teacher, declared that this reporter would soon witness more instances of alleged witches being publicly humiliated and stripped naked.
He said he would fulfill his promise about sending people to Hajj by January.
“The Hajj’s event is still in progress. Inshaa Allahu, I will honour my commitment. Anytime between January and February.”
When pressed for details regarding the act of stripping alleged witches, he initially scheduled a discussion at 8 pm. However, when contacted as scheduled, he postponed the conversation to 10 pm, citing the presence of guests, and said, “We can have a more extensive discussion during the late hours of the day when my guests are no longer here. Let’s talk at 10 pm. I will be available by then,” and he ended the call.
Upon a second attempt to reach him, Hassan Patigi claimed that the Mecca forms were not being sold but distributed freely.
“When I visited Ogun State, some of my security personnel printed forms similar to mine and sold them to people. I, on the other hand, distributed the forms at no cost. When I learned of this, I returned to the state and warned people not to pay for them. On that very day, I tore up the forms on stage,” he told WikkiTimes.
Asking him whether he sanctioned his staff for breach of trust, he side-stepped the question. Rather, he said he would fulfill his promise when it is time.
“I will pay by January as I earlier stated. And about people being stripped naked, it is their fate. You will soon see more than that. Mine is to help in Nupe land.
“When alleged witches come, I point out those with witchcraft and clear those without the spirit”.
When the reporter asked him more questions, he promised to call back, explaining that he had guests. But he failed to call back and also refused to answer several calls and text messages.
When contacted by WikkiTimes, Aliyu Yahaya, the Etsu Nupe’s Mayaki (Emirate minister of defense), claimed ignorance regarding Hassan Patigi’s activities in Nupe land. “I have no idea about that,” he stated, ending the call without further commentary.
Aisha Wakaso, the Special Adviser on Print Media to the Niger State Governor, did not respond to multiple calls and ignored text messages from the reporter.
Danmaigoro Zubair Ibrahim, the Senior Special Assistant to the Kwara Governor on Islamic Religion, dismissed the issue of Hassan Patigi as a thing of the past. “Please, find another topic. That is history. We have resolved it. The police have taken the necessary actions and instructed him not to repeat such actions.”
Ibrahim said the Kwara government was unaware of Hassan Patigi’s entry into the state, claiming that he hailed from the Mokwa community, not the Patigi community in Kwara State.
“There is no such person as Hassan Patigi in Kwara State. That individual is from Mokwa. This matter is closed. Please refrain from bringing up this issue. It is a closed chapter,” he said before ending the call.
Dele Oyewale, the spokesperson for the anti-graft agency, advised the reporter to submit a complaint to the EFCC office in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara State.
Despite multiple attempts, the public relations officers for the Niger and Kwara State Police Commands, Wasiu Abidoun and Okasanmi Ajayi, did not respond to calls and text messages from the reporter.
Edited by Ajibola Amzat
This investigation is produced with support from the Wole Soyinka Center for Investigative Journalism (WSCIJ) under the Collaborative Media Engagement for Development Inclusivity and Accountability Project (CMEDIA) and funded by MacArthur Foundation