A 40-year-old man, John Friday Akpan from Akwa Ibom State, resident in Calabar the Cross River State capital, is currently in police custody for allegedly nailing his children – Elisha Friday Akpan and Esther Friday Akpan, on a cross for witchcraft.
The accused, Mr. Akpan, heeded the advice of a herbalist, ‘Dr.’ Okokon and eventually tagged his two children, aged, 12 and 6 respectively as a witch and a wizard.
And in act reminiscent of the nailing of Jesus Christ on the Cross, Friday Akpan subjected Elisha and Esther to harrowing treatment by nailing them to a plank in shape of a cross and locking them up in a dark, thatch hut without food for weeks.
He told the police that the children took his money to their “master in the witchcraft coven and therefore deserve no mercy”.
Following weeks starvation, the two children whose emaciated and dirty physical appearance replicate the gory images of starving children in famine-ravaged Somalia and war-torn Sudan said they survived by water which was supplied to them by one of the man’s kids from another woman. 6-year-old Esther explained:
“Our sister, Peace usually bring us water inside the hut when our father and our mother had gone out.”
The children said they used to reside with their father in Akpabuyo, Cross River State and attended a private school – Regent Nursery and Primary School, Ikot Nkanda but that their stories changed when their mother died and the man took another wife, Iquo.
Elisha who is in JSS 1 while narrating their ordeal said:
“My mother (stepmother) said the woman who used to live near our house in Akpabuyo gave us food and she put something (witchcraft spell) in the food and when we ate it we changed to bird at night and took our fathers money to ‘our master’ in the witchcraft world.”
According to the children, Elisha was alleged to have taken N4,000 while Esther took N2,000 and that angered their father and step-mother who started beating them severely and denying them food, ‘because they said we took their money to our master in the witchcraft coven. This is something I don’t even understand’.
The Cross River State Police Command, said efforts were on to arrest Okokon the herbalist so that “he and the parents can appear in court to answer charges on felony”.