From Gyang Bere, Jos
Andrew Mathew, a 16-year-old, who dropped out from primary school, can credibly say that he has experienced hell on earth. He is currently battling to survive the deep cuts allegedly inflicted on him in the guise of deliverance from witchcraft activities.
The pathetic story of Matthew began in September 2017, when his parents drew the conclusion that he had become possessed by a demon, which made him manifest witchcraft tendencies. They decided to send him for deliverance at the prayer house of Danladi Boyi, located at the abattoir area of Jos South Local Government Area of Plateau State.
Boyi, as Sunday Sun learnt, claimed to be a specialist in casting out demons from little children. Having exhausted all other avenues to make Andrew modify his conduct in line with societal expectations, his parents took him to the prayer house for deliverance from witchcraft and thereafter abandoned him for two weeks.
In the course of the two weeks, Andrew was given thorough beating and subjected to rigorous exercise beyond his strength. He was beaten so terribly, all in the bid to make him confess to being a witch and responsible for the deaths of some people in the family.
Within the two-week period that Andrew was in the custody of the ‘prayer warrior’ he sustained deep cuts and injuries all over his body as a result of the torture he passed through in the ‘deliverance’ process.
When he spoke with Sunday Sun, Andrew narrated how he came to such a terrible pass: “I am not a witch. It was my parents that accused me of being a witch. It is true that I could be stubborn but certainly I was not engaged in witchcraft practice.
“I have gone through horrible and terrible experience. I was maltreated by my parents at home before I was taken to the man they said could cast out demons. I was subjected to two weeks of sustained whipping which tore my skin in several places.”
He was starved of food for several days and subjected to harsh treatment, day and night, as part of the strategy to deliver him from witchcraft.
Sunday Sun learnt that Andrew’s hands and legs were tied up occasionally while being beaten. Some of the fresh wounds on parts of his body were razor cuts, while others resulted from severe torture.
Fortuitously, providence presented Andrew with an opportunity and he escaped from the torture house. But he did not return home to his parents. Instead, he began moving from street to street, to beg for alms and food to survive.
A kindhearted man and resident of Tudun-Wada community in Jos North Local Government Area, Plateau State, Davou Williams, who sighted him with deep cuts all over his body, arrested him and took him to Plateau Specialist Hospital, Jos, on September 23, 2017. He was hospitalized for about one month.
A non-governmental organisation, Simji Girl Child Empowerment and Berom Progressive Mind (BPM), provided financial assistance to enable him receive medical treatment as he was abandoned in the hospital at a point for lack of finance.
Andrew, who is the first male child of the family made further revelations: “I was told that several children who had been accused of witchcraft were brought to him (the so-called prayer warrior) and after sustained whipping and maltreatment, they were taken to hospitals to recover. Some were deformed at the end of the painful exercise.
“If not because I was taken to the hospital, I don’t know what would have become of me by now; possibly I would have been no more, because I was hungry and in severe pain without help from anywhere, nobody understood my predicament because nobody was willing to listen to me.
“I had to abandon school in primary five because I couldn’t endure the beating and the harassment that were coming from my parents and some members of the community. I know that I have never killed anybody and I have never attempted to kill anyone.”
Father of the boy, Mathew Pam, denied knowledge of the torture but confessed to have handed over the boy for deliverance in a prayer house. He contributed in paying off the medical bill in the hospital.