by crossriverwatch admin
A forty year old man, John Friday Akpan from Akwa Ibom State resident in Calabar the Cross River State capital, is now explaining to the police how he heeded the advice of a herbalist, ‘Dr.’ Okokon and eventually tagging his two children, Elisha Friday Akpan and Esther Friday Akpan as witches.
In a bizarre story reminiscent of the nailing of Jesus Christ on the Cross, Friday Akpan subjected his two children aged, 12 and 6 respectively, to harrowing treatment by nailing them to a plank and locking them up in a thatch hut without food for weeks. He claimed that the children took his money to their “master in the witchcraft world and therefore deserve no mercy”. He told the police.
Following weeks starvation, the two children whose emaciated and dirty physical appearance replicate the gory images of starving children in famine ravaged Somalia and war torn Sudan said they survived by water which was supplied to them by one of the man’s kids from another woman. “Our sister, Peace usually bring us water inside the hut when our father and our mother had gone out”. Esther said.
Their father, the kids said, used to reside in Akpabuyo with the family where he sent them to a private school, Regent Nursery and Primary School, Ikot Nkanda but when their mother died and the man took another wife, Iquo, the story changed.
“My mother (stepmother), said the woman who used to live near our house in Akpabuyo gave us food and she put something in the food and when we ate it we changed to bird at night and took our fathers money to our master in the witchcraft world”. Elisha who is a JSS one student of Regent said.
According to the kids, Elisha was alleged to have taken 4 000 Naira while Esther took 2000 Naira and that angered their father and step mother who started beating them severely and denying them food “because they said we took the money to our master”.
The maltreatment became worse when they relocated to Calabar and took up residence at 23 Akpandem Street, off Edim Otop Street at the municipality. “He nailed us to one big plank and beat us that we should bring back the money but we had no money to give to him”. Esther said.
Unable to get back his money from the children Akpan went for the final onslaught against the kids by locking them up in an abandoned hut where he lived so that they could die. “When the situation became too bad, neighbors worried that the children may die and the police descend on them so they raised alarm and reported to the police at the Airport Division who swooped on the parents and got them arrested”. Barrister James Ibor, child rights activists told crossriverwatch.
He said the DPO of the Airport Division called him “at about 11 am on Friday 8th March that there was another case of children stigmatization as witches and I went to the station and behold, what I saw made me weep”
He said the children were so hungry and weak that it was apparent that they would have died in a matter of hours if they had not been rescued. “They were so weak that we had to give them water first, then some fruits, even at that the system of the girl could not accommodate the fruits and she had to visit the toilet a few minute after she ate the banana I gave to them”.
DSP John Umoh the spokesman of the Cross River State Police Command said efforts are on hand to arrest Okokon the herbalist so that “he and the parents can appear in court to answer charges of felony”.
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