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Three Arraigned For  Murder of A Woman, Four Others On Allegation Of Witchcraft In Cross River


By Tina Ezin

The High Court of Justice in Cross River State, has arraigned three murder suspects over the alleged killing of five people in Ndon Nwong Community in Odukpani Local Government Area (LGA) of the state on allegation of witchcraft.

The three defendants, Bassey Okon Effiong, 20-years old, Etim Ekpenyong Ekpo, 18-years old and Bassey Nyong Bassey, 27 years old were on Tuesday arraigned in court.

The Cross River State Commissioner of Police had charged the three defendants while others are still at large for an alleged murder of five persons on allegation of witchcraft on October 14, 2022 in Ndon Nwong community of Odukpani LGA .

It will be recalled that three women and two men were murdered when some chiefs and youths from the community tied, tortured and murdered them following a kangaroo trial at the village square.

The incident happened following a motorcycle accident that took place on the evening of October 13, 2022, which led to two children being tortured and forced to identify the “witches” that caused the said accident and the youths rallied the victims up.

The late Madam Iquo and four others were killed and buried in a shallow grave somewhere in the forest while four others were set free.

The State Counsel, Adama Cletus, on behalf of the state, sought the permission of the court to amend the previous charge information with charge number 8C20C, 2022 to be amended to 8C20C, 2023 on the ground that the previous application expired on October, 3, 2023.

The trial judge, Justice Victor Offiong granted the application to seek the permission but adjoined the court to November, 21, 2023 for plea.

Counsel to the 3rd defendant, Mustapha Egweshi, told newsmen shortly after the arraignment that the court was adjourned because the second Counsel to the respondent said he was not served with the information .

“We are here for the arraignment and possibly plea of the matter concerning the state Commissioner of Police against three defendants. I represent the third defendant whose name is Bassey Nyong Bassey among the few other defendants who are represented by other colleagues.

“What transpired today in court was that the offences are simply alleged offences of murder in a community in Odukpani on the 14th day of October last year, 2022. We are here to prove the innocents of our clients and for now, he is presumed innocent by the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria by virtue of section 36. So as it stands, he is innocent, he has been taken for remand, we will come back for the next adjourned date were we will take the plea and possibly make application for his bail and the trial will continue.” Egweshi noted.

On his part, a Civil Right Activist and Principal Counsel, Basic Right Counsel, Barr. James Ibor, expressed satisfaction at the process, hoping that justice should be served to the five persons who were gruesomely killed over what he described as mere superstitious.

“I am happy that the defendants, their nominal complainants, their families and the entire public had a date with justice. The process has started, we can only hope that justice should be served for the five that were gruesomely murdered just because of mere superstition and superstition kills us more than diseases and the earlier the courts take a position to deter people from mindlessly killing human persons, the better.

“I am aware that the police is still on the trail of other offenders and I have confidence in the police that they will be brought to justice.” Ibor stated.

Speaking with newsmen, the son, Asuquo Eyo and the brother, Chief Okon-Nyong Asuquo of one of the victims, late Madam Iquo Eyo, expressed sadness over the gruesome killing of their mother and sister. The appealed to the state government to make sure the killers are brought to book.

“I want justice for my mother. Okon and his gang must be punished, let the government be a good judge over the case of my late mother”, late Iquo’s son pleaded.


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