witches by a prophet in the Divine Zion of God Church in
Ikot-Abasi-Effiom District, in the Akpabuyo Local Government Area of
Cross River State, have narrated how they narrowly escaped being lynched
by the villagers.
The incident happened after their uncle, identified simply as Victor, took them to the church for deliverance, Punch Reports.
Thirteen-year-old Aniema, and Mary, 10, who had since relocated to
Asanting village in the Ikono LGA of Akwa Ibom State, said they were
taken to their new abode after the sad encounter with the uncle.
She said, “Everything started when Adiaha Akpan (stepsister) said she
had a dream that Aniema and I came to take her child away and that we
wanted to kill her. She told Uncle Victor about the dream.
“Uncle Victor took us to church, where he asked us to confess that we
were witches or else when we get back to the house, he would beat us and
use nails to pierce our bodies, but I told him that I was not a witch.
“Uncle Victor took us to the church and when the prophet said we were
witches, he and some people took us to the bush and started flogging
Aniema, however, said she tried to run away but was apprehended by the
uncle, adding that they used all kinds of cruel methods to get them to
confess in affirmation, but to no avail.
“When they went away, I managed to untie myself and ran away. A broken
bottle pierced my feet, but I kept on running. Our uncle caught up with
me and continued with the flogging, using big sticks while I cried.
“They took me from one house to the other and some people joined them to
flog me. They burned a nylon bag and let the flames fall on our skin to
make us confess.”
It was the timely intervention of a worker with the Cross River State
Local Government Service Commission, Mr. Okon Edet-Bassey, that saved
Edet-Bassey, it was learnt, rushed to the scene and warned the uncle and
all others who tortured them that he would take legal action if
anything happened to the kids.
In an interview, Edet-Bassey said, “I wasn’t around so I didn’t know
where they were tied up. But when the information got to me, I sent a
message across to them and reported the incident to some military men
who were there. When they heard about my moves, they quickly untied the
“I promised that they would not go scot-free. The next day, Basic Right
Council Initiative, a not-for-profit organisation based in Calabar, with
interest in safeguarding the rights of children, was screening a movie,
‘The Fake Prophet’, which focuses on witchcraft branding and the role
of fake clergymen in the propagation of the act.
“I took the children to the event. I narrated the story to them and they
interviewed the children; they took their photographs and even took the
children to a nearby clinic for first aid.”
Also, Executive Secretary of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative, Mr. James
Ibor, said, “We have been finding it difficult getting the government to
understand the effect of child abuse, especially witchcraft branding
and stigmatisation, which are borne out of the superstitious belief in
witches and wizards.
“Our investigation revealed that it is difficult for some churches to
exist in Nigeria without promoting the belief in witches and wizards.
That is what actually promotes their trade. Unfortunately, that which
gives them money is destroying our society. It’s destroying our children
that we call the leaders of tomorrow.”