Group of activists have called on the Cross River State Police Command to arrest the youths who burnt a mother of four to death over alleged witchcraft in New Netim community, Akamkpa Local Government Area of the state.
LIB reported that the deceased, Mrs. Martina Okey Itagbor, was accused of being responsible for the motor accident which claimed the lives of two young men in the community.
In a statement on Friday, June 30, 2023, the groups, Citizens’ Solution Network and Agba Jalingo Foundation for Investigative and Accountability Journalism, said Mrs. Martina and the mothers of the two boys who died in the car crash, are members of the Catholic Women Organization (CWO).
The statement signed by Jalingo, urged the police to realise that the gruesome murder of Mrs. Itagbo is one extrajudicial killing that has become too many in parts of the state.
The group described the murder as primitive and unacceptable, adding that such incidents keep occurring in the state “because those who kill innocent women they don’t like their faces in their local community, go scot-free without repercussions due to the visible refusal of the Cross River State Police Command to arrest, prosecute and ensure that those who takes the lives of others.”
According to the group, the gang was led by Christopher Sunday Mbey and his deputy, Festus Etim Umoh.
“The Police Command should rise to the occasion to preempt further killings of old women who are defenceless from unexpected quarters. The older and defenceless female population should get protected from summary torture, humiliation and killings,” the statement read.
“Mrs. Martina Itagbor was burnt to death in front of the village Catholic church while a meeting of the CWO was ongoing in the church. They were inside the church watching while the youths burnt one of their members to ashes.
One of Mrs. Martina’s daughter, who is also a member of the CWO, was inside the church too while her mother was burning in the fire. She wasn’t allowed to come out to do anything to help the hapless mum.
Members of the CWO have visited the mothers of the two boys who died in the car crash to condole with them. But they have refused to visit the family of late Mrs. Martina Itagbor, to condole with them.
They have also refused to condemn the action of the community youths. And her daughter who watched her mother burn to death has been facing threats from the youths since the incident happend.
By their actions, are members of the CWO in Old Netim, Akamkpa, accepting the verdict of the youths that one of their own was a witch and deserves to die gruesomely or are they afraid of their murderous children?
Meanwhile, we have obtained 14 names of the irate youths who participated in the murder of Mrs. Martina Okey Itagbor. They include:
1. Christopher Sunday Mbey(Leader)
2. Festus Etim Umoh (Dep. Leader)
3. Emem Etim Umoh
4. Enearokot Omonga Peter
5. Stephen aka Pompori
7. Destiny Ime Brown
8. Joseph Omonga Orok
9. Eyu Adogo
10. Louis Bassey Peter
11. Orok Okon Orok
12. Mesembe Anembe
13. Malachi Sylvanus
14. Thelfa Okon Nyong
The statement further said:
“It will be recalled that, a few years ago, after the death of two Catholic priests, Reverend Father Daniel Omonga and a colleague, in a ghastly car accident, these same youths went berserk and killed four chiefs in the community and burnt houses and properties worth millions of Naira. The youths alleged that the four chiefs that were murdered were witches and wizards.
“Because nothing happened to any of them, they have been emboldened to continue with this barbarism.
“That’s why we are calling on the Nigeria Police to please move into that community immediately and do their work. No one should be given the impression that they have a free pass to take other people’s lives without retribution. ”