July 23, 2024

Ebonyi: Tears, agony as youths render family homeless over allegations of witchcraft

Every June 12 will remain an indelible date in the minds of the family members of Mr John Ekpono of Agharoza, Iboko, in Izzi Local Government Area of Ebonyi State.

Little did they know that this fateful day would bring a bleak future to the entire family.

It was a scene of tears and agony as their houses and farmlands were destroyed by some youths in the area following a revelation by a certain man of God that accused them of being evil.

DAILY POST gathered that trouble erupted when a cleric made a revelation that Mr John Ekpono and others were responsible for the backwardness and other calamities befalling the community.

Convinced by the revelation, some youths in the area went on a rampage, burning down Ekpono’s houses, farmlands, and other valuables, accusing him of being evil.

Speaking with DAILY POST on Thursday, the victim’s son, Mr Chijioke Ekpono, who narrated their ordeal, stated that the masterminds have concluded plans to attack his family members.

He explained that the villagers organized a crusade in the village, and the Chairman of Izzi Local Government Area sent security operatives to disrupt the program because no official permission was taken from the local government by the organizers.

Continuing, Chijioke further disclosed that he challenged the organizers of the crusade because his father’s name was mentioned as one of those responsible for evil practices in the community, which led to the burning of their family properties.

“They have concluded that we were the ones who sent security agencies and accused us of being against the pastor’s coming to call out names of evildoers.

“Agharoza village members rallied, conspired, and destroyed everything that my father labored for in life. They burnt down our houses, destroyed our farmlands, and many other things too numerous to mention. May God come to our rescue,” he said.

Reacting through a telephone conversation on Friday evening with DAILY POST, Chairman of Izzi Local Government Area, Barrister Stephen Emenike Nwakpu, confirmed the incident, describing it as uncalled for and barbaric.

Nwakpu stated that so far, no fewer than 30 persons behind the arson have been arrested, arraigned, and remanded in Abakaliki custodial center, while others are still at large.

Regarding the resettlement of the victims, the local government chairman said efforts are being made to ensure proper conditions for the victims.

When contacted on Friday, the Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of the Ebonyi State Command, DSP Joshua Ukandu, confirmed the incident to DAILY POST.

He stated that an investigation into the matter has begun to arrest those still at large.

Meanwhile, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) in Ebonyi State has waded into the gross human rights abuse.

Reacting to the development in an interview with DAILY POST on Friday, the state coordinator of NHRC, Mr. Christopher Okorie, expressed concern that people could be so barbaric because of superstition.

Okorie frowned upon the practice of people relying on unfounded revelations and superstitions to witch-hunt innocent civilians in society.

He said that the commission was committed to ensuring that justice was done in the matter to serve as a deterrent to others.

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