The Advocacy for Alleged Witches (AfAW) has urged the inspector general of police and the Ebonyi State government to arrest and prosecute those who allegedly tortured and eventually murdered Chief Okechukwu Nweke of Ohaechara village of Inyere Community in Ezza North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.
The appeal was contained in a statement by Dr. Leo Igwe who directs AfAW , an advocacy, not a witches’ group, that works and campaigns to end witch persecution in Africa.
Igwe said that Chief Nweke was killed following allegations of witchcraft and harmful magic.
He said :”Recently, the attention of AfAW was drawn to a post that was circulating on social media. The post states: ‘On August 28, 2021, they branded a 31-year-old wealthy man, Chief Okechukwu Nweke a witch. They accused him of being responsible for the strange misfortunes that befell the village. He went to the bank of the Akadoro river to observe prayers as a member of the Sabbath church. He was wearing a red garment.
“He was tied and dragged to the village square where he was beaten to death. He told them that he was a patent medicine dealer at Ogbo Owu market, Onitsha Anambra state but all his plea fell on deaf ears. They threw him into the Akadoro river. His lifeless body has yet to be recovered. They went through his phone and transferred five million naira…’
“The post contains the photo of Chief Nweke while he was being tortured. The photo shows Nweke sitting on the ground and tied with a rope and some palm fronds. Someone from the community told AfAW that they tortured him for some time. And when the torturers realized that he was about to die, they tied up his hands and legs, went and threw him into a nearby river.
“AfAW contacted relatives of the victim and they confirmed this tragic incident. The father told a local human rights group: ‘They have killed my son for envy. Okechukwu was a Sabbath worshiper and he never killed anyone and he is not a thief. He was doing good business in Onitsha and has been helping me and his younger ones. On that fateful day, our Ezeogo asked them to take my son to the police over the allegations. They agreed with the Ezeogo. But immediately they left the palace, they tied ropes on my son’s waist and neck, dragged him along the road like a goat, and began to beat and torture him mercilessly. I cried to them; I begged them but they continued to kill my son. If you know the story of Jesus Christ, that’s how Okechukwu was tortured until they reached Ohaechara playground.
After some time, our councilor came and told them that Ezeogo said they should take my son to the police. Upon hearing that, they had a brief meeting before they now tied my son’s hands backward, carried him in a motorcycle, and told us they were going to the police. I made to follow them but they asked me to go back. Very shortly, they came back to tell us that my son slipped off their hands and fell into the Akadoro river. Up until now, we have not seen my son neither has his corpse been found.’
“The traditional ruler has also narrated what happened: ‘On Saturday 28 August 2021, a group of persons brought one boy to my palace with allegations of witchcraft and voodooism. After listening to them, I advised them to take the boy to the police and warned them never to torture him. They agreed and promised me they were going to the police and I asked the boy’s father to follow them and to report back to me should anything goes wrong. I later sent the councilor to go and make sure the instruction is carried to the letter. So, if anything happens to the boy, those responsible should answer for it.’
“This trial by ordeal and horrific murder of Nweke took place in a village square. Some of the community leaders were at the scene. A source said that the local councilor was present.
“AfAW has been informed that the matter was reported to the state police command in Abakiliki. But over two months after this horrific murder, the police have yet to make an arrest or conduct any investigation. According to a relative, ‘We took the matter to the police, but nothing reasonable has been done because we learned that one politician from the village went to the police after we had left to frustrate the matter.’ ”
AfAW called the commissioner of police in Ebonyi and he promised to look into the matter and ensure that necessary measures were taken to bring the perpetrators to justice. AfAW also contacted the state attorney general and commissioner for justice. He said there was nothing his office could do until the case was charged to court.
“AfAW will continue to work with relevant stakeholders to end witchcraft accusations, witch persecution and killing. AfAW will ensure that those who carried out this gruesome murder of an innocent person are made to pay for their crime”, the group said.
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‘Governor Abiodun Committed To Rule Of Law, Democracy’
The commitment of the administration of Governor Dapo Abiodun in Ogun State to ensure the preservation of the rule of law, battle corruption and, protect the tenets of democracy in the country has again been reiterated.
According to a top functionary of the government, apart from prioritising the welfare of the people, the administration is working hard to deepen the people’s beliefs in the nations democratic process.
Kayode Akinmade, a Chief Consultant on Media to the governor, who spoke while answering questions on a television programme on Friday, said as a law-abiding leader, the governor has always taken recourse to the judiciary to seek redress for himself and his administration whenever the need arises, rather than engage in self-help.
Akinmade stressed that the decision of the governor to approach the court over the matter between him and the impeached chairman of Ijebu East Local Government Area, Wale Adedayo, is a demonstration of his belief in the rule of law and his indisposition to ‘rule of force’.
Adedayo appeared before a Magistrate’s Court at Isabo, Abeokuta, on a petition filed by the state government against him over an earlier allegation of diversion of funds meant for Council Areas in the state. Governor Abiodun is insisting that the former Council boss must prove his allegations against his administration or face the wrath of the law for falsely inciting the people against the government.
Adedayo was arraigned on a two-count charge. According to Akinmade, it is wrong for people to rush to accuse the governor of persecuting Adedayo, who according to him, has “severally apologised to the governor in private while continuing with his ill-motivated misinformation in public.”
“The governor believes that taking Adedayo before the court will deepen our democracy and entrench the rule of law.
“Unlike some other people in Governor Abiodun’s shoes who would readily recourse to sending thugs after and unleashing other forms of violence on those who accused them rightly or wrongly, our governor decided to seek redress in court. I think he should be commended by all and sundry for this. What he is doing is giving Adedayo a chance to prove his allegations,” Akinmade said.
On the allegation by the impeached chairman that the governor is behind his removal, Akinmade said Adedayo was already facing removal from office before he raised the false alarms against the governor. “He has already been accused of several impeachable offences before he wrote the letter alleging that the governor diverted council funds. He had already reached out to the governor and other leaders of the party to help him stave off his removal. It was when he realized he may not survive the impeachment move that he connived with some other unscrupulous politicians in the party to malign the governor and discredit the APC in Ogun State,” Akinmade said.
The media chief added that claims by Adedayo that he got zero allocation since he became chairman of his local government were proved wrong by the Joint Account Allocation Committee (JAAC) in the state when the House of Assembly looked into his petition. He recalled that other council chairmen in the state also debunked the allegation and even brought Adedayo with them to apologize to the governor for the wrong allegations.
“But in spite of all these, he didn’t stop his scripted plot to tarnish the image of the governor. Hence, Governor Abiodun approached the court for redress,” he added.
Speaking further, Akinmade recalled that the impeached council boss has been in office for more than two years before making his frivolous and unfounded allegations. “One then wonders why he is raising this alarm now. He claimed zero allocation, but he has been collecting his monthly N3 million security votes regularly. Local government staff in his LGA are not being owed, and primary school teachers there are paid as at when due. We all should be asking him to explain what he meant by zero allocation,” he said.
BREAKING: Kaduna Guber Tribunal Nullifies Election Of Governor Uba Sani
The governorship election petition tribunal sitting in Kaduna on Thursday declared the election of Uba Sani of the All Progressives Congress (APC) as inconclusive and thus nullified the exercise.
The tribunal made the declaration while delivering judgement via Zoom in a petition by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and its candidate, Isah Ashiru, challenging the election of Sani in the March 2023, election.
The tribunal ordered that fresh election be conducted in seven wards in four LGAs of the state.
In Shakeup Of FCT Administration, Wike Sacks Agencies, Parastatals Heads
In a decisive shakeup of the administration of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), its Minister Nyesom Wike, has sacked the heads of 21 parastatals, agencies, and government companies.
This was disclosed in a statement by the Director of Press, Office of the Minister, Anthony Ogunleye, in Abuja on Wednesday.
Ogunleye identified the affected heads of the agencies as follows:
1. Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, Abuja Investment Company Ltd
2. CEO/Managing Director, Abuja Markets Management Ltd
3. MD/CEO, Abuja Urban Mass Transport Company
4. CEO/MD, Abuja Property Development Company
5. CEO/MD, Abuja Technology Village Free Trade Zone Company
6. CEO/MD, Abuja Film Village International
7. CEO/MD, Powernoth AICL Equipment Leasing Company Ltd
8. MD, Abuja Broadcasting Corporation
9. MD, Abuja Enterprise Agency
10. General Manager, FCT Water Board
11. Director-General, FCT Emergency Management Agency
12. Executive Secretary, FCT Primary Healthcare Board
13. DG, Hospital Management Board
14. Director, Abuja Environmental Protection Board
15. Director, FCT Scholarship Board
16. Director, FCT Christian Pilgrims Welfare Board
17. Director, Muslim Pilgrims Welfare Board
18. Coordinator, Abuja Infrastructure Investment Center
19. Director, FCT Health Insurance Scheme
20. Coordinator, Satellite Towns Development Department
21. Coordinator, Abuja Metropolitan Management Council
The director of the press said that the affected appointees should hand over the affairs of their offices to the most senior officers in rank.
He added that appointments in the offices would be made in due course.
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