A pastor in Ibaka, Mbo Local Government Area, Akwa Ibom State was last week arraigned before the Oron Magistrate Court 1 for employing the services of hoodlums in an attempt to kill his son, Master Godwin Uko John.
The men who were also arraigned before the magistrate court, gave their names as, Inyang Etim James, 27, Daniel Etim James, 21 and Udeme Effiong Gregory, 27, pleaded not guilty to all the charges brought against them, even as they broke down in tears blaming their action on the entreaties of Pastor John “We would not have done
this but Pastor John persuaded us to torture the boy so that he will pay us.....’ Inyang pleaded.
Pastor John, who is the founder and President of Jesus Miracle Word Mission, Ibaka – Mbo LGA told the court that he did not asked the men to torture the boy but to threaten him so that he would resign from the witchcraft occult.
Nine year old Godwin told the court that his father invited four men because they suspected him of possessing witchcraft spell. “I was sleeping in the house while my father was sleeping on the veranda because the house was so hot, so four of them entered the room and took me to an uncompleted building by 1:00 am in the night. There, they used cutlass, sticks and horse-whip to beat me all over my body; brought hot oil from the fire and poured it on my head, my two hands were broken, I vomited blood and fell down they thought I was dead, they ran away....” Godwin recounted his ordeal.
On how he came to the court, little Godwin said. ‘when my brother came back from fishing and saw me, he got annoyed as my father did not take any action, so he took me and ran to CRARN Children Centre, Eket. The people at CRARN took me to the police of Oron so the police went and arrested them, but one person, Favour, ran away.”
The presiding Magistrate, Mr, S.L Udowan, however, cited conditions for their bail to include N50,000 each, and the surety must have a landed property in Oron. The suspects have been transferred to Eket prison custody.
Speaking on the matter, the Media and publicity Officer, Child's Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) Mr Victor Afaha said though they were faced with a lot of challenges including threat to lives and politicking in cases like this, they would not be deterred in the cause of saving the lives of stigmatized children.
The case was adjourned to 21st January, 2011 for next hearing.
---Asuquo Okon CEJ