By Ike Uchechukwu
CALABAR—Three children, who were incarcerated by their father over allegations of witchcraft, have been rescued by a child rights group, Basic Child Rights Initiative, BCRI, after neighbours alerted them.
Their father said the eldest, aged 13, confessed to being the head of witches in the family and is responsible for his financial challenges.
The incident, Vanguard learned, occurred at Asabanka, Idundun in Akpabuyo Local Government Area of Cross River State.
An eyewitness, Iniobong Ekpo, said: “Before the group came to the children’s rescue, we did not really know what was going on. We used to see them around sometimes whenever their father was not around.
“It was later that we discovered that whenever he wanted to leave the house, he locked them up in a dark room without food and water. They slept and defecated there.”
On his part, the suspect, Mr. Patrick Effiom, said the eldest daughter, Edak, who is 13 years old, confessed to being the head of the witches in the family. He also said she confessed to being responsible for his financial misfortunes.
His words: “I only gave them gari to drink because that was what I had before I travel to Akwa Ibom for a church programme.’’
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, Mr. Irene Ugbo, an Assistant Superintendent, confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect was arrested and granted bail.