Okon Bassey in Uyo
A 34-year-old man, Mr. Albert Silvanus Uso, who burnt his stepson with hot knives before abandoning him over witchcraft allegations has been arrested by the police in Akwa Ibom State.
Uso who hails from Edo, Esit Eket Local Government Area of state was reported to have steamed knives in the fire and placed it on his stepson, Victor, severally on different parts of his body after tying his both hands and legs to make sure he could not escape.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) of Eket Division, CSP Abdulkadir Jamal, said Uso was arrested because he had warned that child-witch branding and torture of innocent children cannot be tolerated anywhere in the world.
“The police have frequently warned that people should not hide under any guise to abuse children. We will do everything under the law to arrest and prosecute any offenders.
“We saw the wounds and scars on the child’s body and we consider it inhumane. It’s not a sight you could stand, so I ordered for his immediate arrest,” he posited.
THISDAY gathered that the suspect was arrested in Efoi – Eket where he currently resides after a complaint was lodged in the Eket Divisional Police headquarters by the Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), a nonprofit group that also caters for abandoned children in the state.
The victim, Victor, was rescued by a CRARN volunteer team in a nearby market when he crept out of the bush, scavenging for food after the market closed.
Victor told the CRARN team that he had been in the bush for several days without food, eating merely raw leaves and unripe fruits.
Reacting to the arrest, the Founder and President of CRARN, Mr. Sam Itauma, expressed gratitude to the police for their swift action that led to the arrest of the culprit.
He said his organization would continue to partner the police and other security agencies to curb the menace of children victimisation as a result of witchcraft belief and related issues.
Itauma said 95 percent of children who suffered witchcraft related abuses is the consequences of failed marriages, single parenthood and dysfunctional family amidst extreme poverty.
The charity worker called on the government to intensify its effort towards creating jobs and launch enlightenment programmes that would demystify the witchcraft perception and beliefs.