With a sense of duty and avowed commitment to humanitarian services all over the country, a team of Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement (HAPSTA), in collaboration with Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), on the 22nd of January 2013 rescued two boys: Victor Anthony Effiong (9 years old) and Augustine Pascal Offion (13 years) off the street at Okopedi market, Okobo local government of Akwa Ibom state where they hitherto had been exposed to all sorts of child labour and insecurity.
|VictorAnthony, one of the rescued, with SCRIP staff and volunteers|
The rescue mission, as part of the field activities of the organisations’ SCRIP Project funded by HAMU, Norway and Swedish Humanist Aid, instantly rose up to the occasion after a tip off (receiving distress call through their hotline) from some local volunteers in the town who had earlier informed the organisation that some stigmatized children were living in Okpedi market.
|Augustin Offion, one of the rescued, with SCRIP staff (Ayo and Bassey)|
It was gathered that Master Victor Effiong, an indigene of Ibawa village, Okobo, was stigmatised as a witch after he accidentally injured one of his play-mates, and Augustine Pascal Offion was also accused by a Catholic priest and his father as being an accomplice in his mother’s death. Having rescued the children, and informed the police, the organisation has commenced investigation which might lead to any of counselling (and later reunification of parents or guardians) or arrest (and possible prosecution of the abusers and stigmatizers).