The Humanist Association of Nigeria is the main point of contact for humanists, atheists and non-religious individuals in the country. Following the arrest of their President Mubarak Bala on 28 April 2020, a backlash against the humanist community in Nigeria (especially in the Northern part of the country) has created a climate of tension, fear, intolerance, and mistrust. For this reason, the Humanist Association of Nigeria (in conjunction with the Interfaith Mediation Centre of Nigeria) will host a meeting to promote positive communication, mutual trust, understanding and tolerance of persons of faith and no faith.
The Humanist Association of Nigeria has been a Member of Humanists International for many years. Founded by humanist activist Leo Igwe in 2020 under the name “Nigerian Humanist Movement”, it took 17 years to achieve an official registration as a formal organization from the Nigerian government. The Humanist Association of Nigeria never stopped speaking out against the death penalty, in favour of gay rights, and campaigning against violence related to ‘witchcraft’ beliefs, for which they have faced physical attacks and the threat of court action – which thankfully was thrown out.
About the project
On 27 November 2021, the Humanist Association of Nigeria will host an inter-faith and belief meeting in Abuja, in conjunction with the Interfaith Mediation Centre of Nigeria. The event will bring together representatives from the Muslim, Christian, Atheist and Humanist communities to identify
areas of shared interest and ways in which members of all groups can coexist peacefully within Nigeria.
Leo Igwe commented on the initiative as follows: “The exclusion of nonreligious persons in the ‘interfaith’ dialogue has been a serious oversight and measures need to be taken to address this gap and rectify this omission. The inclusion of nonreligious persons in the interfaith project is necessary to promote understanding, tolerant living, and peaceful coexistence of religious and nonreligious others. Interfaith dialogue should aim to be more inclusive and to add value to the relationship between humanists and people of faith.”
Leo Igwe, Chairman of the Humanist Association of Nigeria and Founder of AfAW (Advocacy for Alleged Witches)