Headquarters of the Cross River State Police Command in Calabar is playing host to a 42-year-old father Edet Etok-Akpan, who is being questioned for torturing his six-year-old daughter, Edidiong whom she tortured because a church prophetess said the girl was a witch.
Edidiong was beaten and locked up in a room with her hands, mouth and face bound for four days before she was rescued by neighbours.
Etok-Akpan, it was gathered started beating her on February 19 after an unidentified prophetess in their church told him that Edidiong was the witch responsible for the stagnancy in his life.
After the beatings which lasted for some days, her father on February 21 tied her hands with a cord and bound her mouth with a piece of cloth, Edidiong told Punch on Monday.
“He locked me in the inner room of our house and he never gave me food and never allowed me to go to school,” she said.
A Basic three pupil of Femos Nursery and Primary School located at 24 Etyin Abasi Street, Edidiong said she became weak after days without food or water.
She however became lucky on February 23, when a young neighbour at their 42 Atakpa Street home came to their veranda to look for broom and discovered her.
“The girl went to Edidiong’s veranda to look for a broom and heard the sound of the girl like that of someone battling with her last breath,” a lawyer with the Basic Rights Counsel, Mr. James Ibor said as he gave details of how the girl was rescued.
“She looked through the louvers of the window and saw Edidiong bound on the floor and raised the alarm. Her parents and other neighbours rushed to the place and saw Edidiong bound inside her apartment.”
Ibor said one of the neighbours called him and he in turn informed the police.
“When the policemen and I got there, we saw a crowd gathered outside. We were able to rescue the child by breaking the door.
“The girl was very weak because she had been without food for days and so we had to give her water first, then after about ten minutes we gave her milk before solid food an hour later.”
According to Ibor, the culprit and his wife had locked up the girl in the inner room of their two-room apartment and went to church, adding that the girl was presently living with her grandmother in another part of the town.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. John Umoh, said Etok-Akpan, who is from Akwa Ibom State, had been arrested and would soon appear in court to answer charges of felony.
“To tie a small girl’s hand and mouth and lock her in a room for some days without food is a grievous offence, he shall soon appear in court,” he said.
Umoh therefore warned parents to always treat their children with care, adding that criminality increases daily because parents had abandoned their responsibilities to their wards.
He also said the police would visit the church where the father got the prophecy. [PN]