Mr. Akpan, who hails from Akwa Ibom State, had reportedly heeded the advice of a herbalist, one “Dr.” Okokon to tag his children – Elisha Friday Akpan (12) and Esther Friday Akpan (6) as a wizard and witch respectively.
A 40-year-old man identified as John Friday Akpan has been detained by the police in Cross River State for “crucifying” his two children on allegations of witchcraft.
A Non-Governmental Organization in Cross River, the Child’s Right And Rehabilitation Network (CRARN), which brought the case to limelight, said Mr. Akpan, in an act reminiscent of the Biblical nailing of Jesus on the cross, subjected his two children to harrowing experience by also nailing them to a plank in a shape of a cross and locking them up in a dark thatch hut for weeks without food.
The 2 starved children tagged as witch and wizard
In his statement to the police, the father claimed that Elisha and Esther took his money to their “master in the witchcraft coven and therefore deserve no mercy”.
Following weeks of starvation, the two children, whose emaciated and dirty physical appearance bring to mind heart-rending images of starving children in famine and war-torn regions, said they survived by water, which was supplied to them by their half-sister, Peace.
“Our sister, Peace usually bring us water inside the hut when our father and our mother had gone out”, Esther said.
According to the kids, who were rescued by CRARN, their father used to reside in Akpabuyo, Cross River State with the family where he sent them to a private school, Regent Nursery and Primary School, Ikot Nkanda but when their mother died and he took another wife, Iquo, the story changed.
“My mother (step-mother), 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”, said Elisha, a JSS one student of Regent.
According to the kids, they incurred their father and step-mother’s wrath when it was alleged that Elisha took N4,000 while Esther took N2,000 and gave to their “master in the witchcraft coven”.
They children said they were severely beaten by their father and his wife and denied food due to the unfounded allegation of witchcraft leveled against them.