By Ugochukwu Alaribe
Wife of the Governor of Abia state, Deaconess Nkechi IKpeazu, has rescued a widow identified as Mrs Amarachi Okechi, who has been under torture over alleged witchcraft by the youths of Umueghu Amaegbuato community, Nkpa in Bende council area of the state.
Sources told Vanguard that Amarachi was accused of being a witch who caused the death of her husband. Her relatives allegedly reported her to the youths of the community who arrested, tortured and held her hostage for several days until words got to some government officials in the area who alerted the wife of the governor.
A source from the community who declined to have her name on print, disclosed that the widow pleaded her innocence but her appeals fell on deaf ears as the youths tied her hands to the back, tied her legs and flogged her. Some of them were filming her.
“The matter is that she was accused of being a witch and having a hand in the death of her husband. The youths abducted her, but she pleaded her innocence. All her appeals fell on deaf ears as the youths tied her hands to the back, tied her legs and flogged her in the public square. Some of them were filming her. She had injuries on her head, hands and back. Some people intervened to rescue her, but the youths also attacked them,” the source said.
However, Chief Press Secretary to the wife of the Governor, Mr. Chika Ojiegbe , stated that the widow has been rescued and taken to an undisclosed hospital for medical attention.
“When the First Lady Nkechi Ikpeazu heard about it last night, she immediately swung into action to rescue the widow. In Abia, we have a robust mechanism for responding to cases of gender-based violence put in place by the First Lady. No matter how severe a case is, it is treated individually according to its circumstances. Several stakeholders were involved in securing the widow alive which is the first action that needed to be taken.
“This has been done. Now the next stage will be to address the issues surrounding the matter. The law enforcement agencies have been duly notified and have commenced appropriate investigations.”
“The allegations of witchcraft are strange to the laws of the land. What is known to law is that no one can take laws into their hands to execute jungle justice. The law will take its course. The case will be closely monitored. The First Lady is picking up the hospital bills of the widow as treatment has commenced in earnest at the hospital. The GBV Resource Centre in Umuahia who were part of the rescue is also monitoring her health.”
The Abia First lady also commended some stakeholders from the Bende council area for their roles in the matter.