Tuesday, 19 March 2013

(ODD): Father nails his children to planks over witchcraft allegations

A forty-year-old father has been accused of nailing his two children to a plank because a herbalist told him they were child witches
Akwa Ibom State indigene, John Friday Akpan who lives in Calabar, Cross River State was arrested by the police after he followed a herbalist’s advice.
Akpan, who with the help of the native doctor, Okokon allegedly subjected his two children, Elisha Udobong and Esther, aged 12 and 6 respectively, to traumatic treatment nailing them to a plank, locking and starving them for days, reportedly told the police the children took his money to their “master in the witchcraft world and therefore deserved no mercy”.
Apparently the children were able to survive on water provided by their step sister. “Our sister, Peace, usually brought us water inside the hut when our father and our mother had gone out”, Esther said.
According to the boy, Elisha he was suspected to have taken N4,000 while Esther took N2,000.
His father and step mother became very angry and started beating and denying them food “because they said we took the money to our master.
“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.
According to reports, the Akpan with his first wife and children lived in Akpabuyo where the children attended private school, Regent Nursery and Primary School, Ikot Nkanda, but soon after their mother died and Akpan remarried, things began to change. The maltreatment was said to have become worse when they relocated to Calabar and took up residence at 23 Akpandem Street, off Edim Otop Street at the municipality.
 Elisha, in JSS1, said: “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 birds at night and took out father’s money to our master in the witchcraft world”.
Unable to get back his money from the children, Akpan allegedly 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, neighbours, worried that the children may die and the police descend on them, raised the alarm and reported to the police at the Airport Division who swooped on the parents and got them arrested”, Mr James Ibor, a child rights activist, told Sunday Vanguard.
He said the DPO of the Airport Division called him “at about 11 am on Friday, March 8 that there was another case of children stigmatisation as witches and I went to the station and behold, what I saw made me weep”.
Ibori said the children were so hungry and weak that it was apparent that they would have died 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 were on to arrest Okokon the herbalist so that “he and the parents can appear in court to answer charges on felony”.

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