Danish aid worker fears reprisal from Nigerian government

Orphanage manager garnered international attention after a Facebook post of her giving water to a severely malnourished ‘witch-child’ went viral in February this year

Anja Ringgren Lovén, the Danish aid worker whose Facebook post about saving a malnourished Nigerian ‘witch-child’ went viral earlier this year, has told media that she now fears a backlash from the Nigeria government, DR reports.

Global attention 
Lovén, who runs an orphanage in Nigeria for so-called ‘witch-children’ – children who have been abandoned by their village communities because they are suspected of being possessed by evil spirits – made the world sit up and take notice when a picture of her giving water to a severely malnourished three-year-old boy went viral on Facebook.

The picture led to worldwide media coverage and resulted in Lovén’s charity, DINnødhjæl, receiving donations in excess of 1 million Danish kroner in just two days.

It was crazy – I could hardly believe it. Among other things, people donated 1 million Danish kroner in just two days. We got the attention of the world – we’re talking Canada, Iran, New Zealand, Australia, USA. I received over 20 emails from CNN and the BBC saying that they would like to come down and make the documentary with us,” she said on P1 Morgen yesterday.

Witch hunt
However, the Nigerian government was also paying attention, and Lovén now fears it will try to do all it can to get her to stop spreading awareness of the issue.

They do not want me to go out and talk about it to the whole world because it gives them a bad reputation,” she said.

“We fear they will close our orphanage and kill all hope to shut the story down.”

Nigeria’s criminal gangs are also paying attention, according to Lovén.

“The criminal gangs [in the area] are also keeping an eye on us. They are also on Facebook, and if it occurs to them that we at the orphanage have a million kroner lying around, they may attempt to rob us.”