Archive | February, 2012

VICTORIA AND THE NIGHTMARE OF AKWA IBOM ‘WITCH’ CHILDREN

25 Feb

Written By

Victoria, Rescued by Aja J. Aja.


Mecky I. Peters
pmeckfree@yahoo.com

My heart bleeds as I read the story of Victoria. How her own parents subjected her to midnight torture; when everywhere has been calmed, waking her up at night and burning her with candle to extract confession. This time not Victoria Climbe, but Victoria Akwa-Ibom. We reject our own for others to pick and make good use of as if our own ignorance is incurable. The story of Akwa Ibom Child Witch Story is an endless one of the levity with which the government subjected it to.

In Akwa Ibom State, it is very terrible situation while our government tries a lot to make a window dressing as if nothing bad is going on; and the very the church that causes this whole problem is trying to blame humanists and atheist groups for the very problem that they initiated in 1999, brainwashing people with films such as “END OF THE WICKED,” “ESCAPE ROOT” and “The COVEN” And books like ”The Seat of Satan Exposed” ”UNVEILING THE MYSTERY OF WITCHCRAFT” written by Apostle Helen Ukpabio. The latter states, in part: “If a child under the age of two screams in the night, cries and is always feverish with deteriorating health he or she is a servant of Satan.” This is however a common phenomenon in the rustic Nigerian communities where malaria epidemic is nothing to write home about and given the avalanche of mosquitoes from pot holes, stench-emitting blocked gullies and garbage heaps

Years back, we witnessed how aged people were accused of witchcraft, causing unheard-of atrocity were abused, neglected or killed openly, (Remember Akpan Ekwong who led the killings of people in the early eighties?); no child was ever accused of being a witch. But after such films, music and pulpit theology laced with fear of witchcraft and how children have taken over the witch world, the fate of Akwa Ibom child changed for the worst. In every 2 children accused of witchcraft in Nigeria 1 is from Akwa Ibom. Outside Nigeria, in every 4 children accused of witchcraft, 1 is from Akwa Ibom State. But we continue to downplay on the magnitude of this problem and castigate those who dare to work or campaign to reverse this ugly and dangerous trend. Thank God that this very story is not written by an Akwa Ibom person otherwise they would have referred it to blackmailing Akwa Ibom State government at the detriment of child

As I write this piece, inside my mind, I frown at Aniekan Umanah, the present Akwa Ibom State Information Commissioner, for lying to the world that no child has ever being harmed or hurt on account of witchcraft while children continue to face death penalty in churches and their family homes. As we walk the streets daily we see more and more children on the Street because the misinforming, sorry LIAR Commissioner of Orientation and Information has disoriented the people and not help to enlighten his society. I frown at him for not educating the people about the wicked brainwash of these vile and renegade churches.

Some journalists who had reported about the true child witch story to expose the atrocity of these churches and the parents, have been paid by Aniekan Umanah and the Liberty Gospel Church to write a reverse story. With time, I believe we will work with some human right lawyers to face his paid journalists for the monumental deceit. All is not yet Uhuru for them. Let them get paid and tell lies about the fate of children of Akwa Ibom origin. But I must strongly commend some of the journalists and right groups who stood their ground and refused to be paid with blood money to sacrifice our children. Those who see the truth and tell it the way it is; those who have refused to be bought to tell lies. I condemn in the strongest possible terms the News Watch magazine and The News for misleading the public with their paid job to belch cannon of lies about the right groups that work to rescue and protect these vulnerable children. Those who are here knows the truth and cannot be deceived

As I write now, one child is facing jungle justice out there for no crime he or she has committed. Her only crime is that she was born to an Akwa Ibom person, or perhaps in a poor family. The Akwa Ibom Child Fate is that of witch branding, stigmatisation, torture, abandonment, suffocation, trafficking, rituals and DEATH. The government has not done anything to enlighten the folk and religious groups on the superstitious belief of child witchcraft simply because most government officials believe that those children deserve such fate since they are guilty as charged. They pay much attention to buy the media to tell the world that those who campaign for stoppage of child stigmatization; torture and killing are doing so for pecuniary reason without offering an alternative.

Thank goodness, the federal government of Nigeria through Dr Idris Kuta, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development recently issued a statement acknowledging child witch palaver and made a strong condemnation on those stigmatised and torture children in the name of witchcraft.

I just read in media how the governor of Akwa Ibom State, Chief Godswill Akpabio is working with the state House of Assembly to gag the media with headlines such as “Gov Akpabio’s Akwa Ibom Assembly arrogating Power to Itself to Gag Journalists.” “Akwa Ibom Govt moves to gag media over critical reporting of Governor Akpabio”

While I am yet to come to term with this, I will no doubt encourage government to pay attention to the myriads of problem that bedevilled the fate of stigmatised children and do more to curb the menace instead of wasting time establishing repulsive laws that will attract more criticism and cynicism. I agree that the law has been passed since 2008, but how many pastors or parents have been prosecuted. Not a single one! Rather we eulogise them and expect every body to do same. Unfortunate! Apart from the mere arrest and bail-out no one has ever face prosecution. Those who report such pastors to the government or its agency, risk being gunned after, blackmailed, even by same government agents with tacit support from the executive government. Akpabio and his government agents have been very infamous in launching vicious and calumnious attack on the right groups backed up by organisation such as Liberty Gospel Church that invented the child witch imbroglio and indeed phenomenon in Nigeria.

The Story of Victoria from Akwa Ibom State whose parents work in INEC and live in Karu, Abuja tells you that Akwa Ibom Child is not save any where in the world with brainwash launch by the Christian fanatical groups and government inaction or lack of intervention. Victoria’s story reminds me of the Good Samaritan who wasn’t a Christian but stopped to rescue the dying Christ. Barrister Aja N. Aja who rescued Victoria is not from Akwa Ibom and may not be a Christian but dovetailed to help Victoria who is an Akwa Ibom Child.

Apart from the Child’s Right and Rehabilitation Network (CRARN) whose, founder (Sam Itauma) and members are Christians all other right groups that are today campaigning for the end to Child stigmatisation are not Christian by inclination or concept but they work tirelessly to save the lives of children who are manacled in churches and starved to death in the name of exorcism and the streets. So what the fusses about atheist and humanist groups when Christian groups have failed us? What the fuss when churches have failed us; when pastors, evangelist, Apostles, Bishop, Prophets have failed us?

I recently attended the attended a UNICEF advocacy meeting here in Akwa Ibom, where a government representative stood up and argued that some of the accused children might be witches. If a government official made such remarks in a high profile advocacy meeting like that, what does one expect how such children will be treated by the an ordinary person?

Such helpless children continue to dot the streets, taking refuge in abandoned structures and becoming prey to human traffickers and ritual killers. What could have happed to all these children if these groups did not step up campaigns to protect them? Reporting such abuse, torture or killing of children on the media is seen as fighting the government. The Akwa Ibom government continues to flaunt its bloated ego sweeping such cruelty on children under the carpet with the archaic cliché “Akwa Ibom Ado Ok”. Meaning Akwa Ibom is Ok! And now, it is “the Uncommon Transformation!” But whatever transformation that may have set in, while the human trafficking business in Nigeria or Africa continues to boom because the syndicates know Akwa Ibom State is a repository of abandoned children only compared to Nepal as a whole, makes such transformation a lip-service.

Truly if the Channel News TV that aired Victoria’s story was in Akwa Ibom, it would not have gone unscathed. The TV anchorman would have been under crucible investigation now by the government security agents. No doubt Governor Akpabio is working round the clock to gag the press using the Akwa Ibom State House of Assembly as a puppet, defying the Freedom of Information (FOI) bill that was passed into law by the federal government of Nigeria.

While appreciating the fact that state government had enacted the child protection law, I bemoan bitterly as the implementation still remains a mirage. How many of these pastors or parent have so far been prosecuted, apart from the arrest and bail? One strong question that refuses to depart the lips of many is: What would have happened to the thousands of children stigmatised children if the civil society and right groups had taking to sitting on the fence? Clearly, with about 50 thousands churches in Nigeria, only one church is leading a campaign against witch hunting; with zero tolerance to witchcraft belief. This is Solid Rock Kingdom Church with Apostle John Okoriko. Can other churches and pastors borrow a leaf here?

To this end, I wish to dole out my Diadem of Honour to the right groups and civil society organizations with the following acronyms for working hard to save the witch children of Nigeria: CRARN, UNICEF, NAPTIP, SSN, YHN, CEHRD NHM and indeed the initiator of Anti Child Witch-Hunt Campaign Mr. Sam Itauma for donating time, resources and love for the ostracized children right to life.

Peters writes from Uyo, Akwa Ibom State

FUEL SUBSIDY, AMAKPE REFINERIES CUM CLEMENT IKPATT’S INSULT ON EKET PEOPLE

8 Feb

By Chris Oduok

“ …for failures by Amakpe Refineries, reflects reasonableness and carries along the overwhelming majority of Eket folks in the Diaspora. If it does, that will be so unfortunate and blatantly insulting. I think enough is enough !…. I call on well meaning Eket folks in the Diaspora to intervene and bring about reasonableness within the Eket Development Congress.” Clement Ikpatt

I am baffled, indeed perplexed about your response to the EDC Publication. I was so rattled that I decided to read the Publication again just in case I missed something. I was trying in particular to find the part which accused Gov. Godswill Akpabio for failures by Amakpe Refineries but there was nothing remotely close, if there is, please point it out. I thought the Release was objective and a fervent appeal to the Governor by a group who needed his assistance.

What I consider insulting is your interference in the internal affairs of EDC, Sir, you have absolutely no right to attempt that colonial strategy of divide and conquer, if you succeed, I will consider Eket people the most stupid people on earth and I know they are not. Where did you get the authority to question what EDC says when you are not a member of the organization.

EDC members do not question your press release as a SSA to the Governor ,or President of AIDN, why on earth do you have the effrontery to question EDC. I agree that enough is enough, but what is enough is that colonial mentality where you or anyone else thinks every organization must work in lockstep with your orders even when such orders are contrary to the vision of the organizations members.

You wrote: ” No person or organization should try to bend public opinion in order to blackmail or muscle the government into funding that project with N30 million.” Ete Clement, are you serious? Did you say we should not bend public opinion?, Should you and your organizations be the only ones to bend public opinion? This is how Dictatorship begins and people lay back and watch another Idi Amin in the making, this is just how it starts.

I have read several Press Releases from you and your organizations, I never read anywhere you guys were muscled into silence. What is the matter with you my friend? When EDC puts out a Press Release, appealing to the State Government to reconsider its position on Amakpe, it is blackmail in your opinion, but when you and your organization puts out a Press Release such as the one demanding the removal of the Governor of the Central Bank (CBN), it is not blackmail, in fact, to you it is a patriotic act by concern citizens, and you were not trying to sway or bend public opinion, Haba! Ete, wake up, you know we Akwa Ibomites and Eket in particular have gone through “uncommon transformation” and cannot be muscled.

We know you are the SSA to the Governor and you need to earn your pay, but you just can’t throw objectivity into the dumpster just to please your pay master because you could actually be doing him a disservice. I agree, Akwa Ibomites are beyond wasting time, energies or electronic bytes on meaningless propaganda stunts from the SSA Diaspora. Our concentration must be towards encouraging the “uncommon transformation” of Akwa Ibom State, especially through freedom of people and organizations to exercise free speech and mind its business without undue and unnecessary interference.

You cannot call on Eket folks to fight themselves while you exploit them, the divide and conquer rule. Eket will stay united and address any differences they may have, they will not listen to you, the colonial masters played that trick on our people, it will not work again. Eket in Diaspora will not intervene in Eket Development Congress on your behalf because when EDC called on the Governor of Akwa Ibom State to intervene on their behalf, you the SSA Diaspora said it will not happen, you can’t reap where you refuse to sow.

“The freedom to be yourself is the power to be your best”- Chris Oduok

Chris Oduok MBA, CALA
Geriatric Visiting Practitioners
7322 SW FWY, Suite 615
Houston TX 77074

832.969.3315

EKET DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS (EDC) USA POSITION ON FUEL SUBSIDY AND THE AMAKPE REFINERIES

6 Feb


PRESS RELEASE: EKET DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS (EDC) POSITION ON FUEL

SUBSIDY AND HOW THE

COMPLETION OF AMAKPE REFINERIES WOULD HELP ALLEVIATE THE PROBLEM.

In light of the recent fuel subsidy crisis in Nigeria which almost

derailed our fragile Democracy and its continuous aftershocks, Eket

Development Congress USA Inc. (EDC) has decided to add its voice to those

of millions of Nigerians who believe that the solution to the subsidy

issue is within our power to ameliorate. The Federal Government and the

Akwa Ibom State Government in particular should seize this golden

opportunity to jump start talks with Amakpe Refinery, a Project with

benefits that would extend beyond the shores of Nigeria.

Like many Nigerians of different works, EDC is at a loss as to why the 8th

largest producer of Crude Oil in the world, Nigeria, is unable or

unwilling to refine adequate fuel for at least local consumption? Why do

we have to subsidize fuel imported from outside the country when we can

refine enough within the borders of Nigeria? Many have argued that it is

not profitable to refine locally as long as we are subsidizing imported

fuel, if we as Nigerians know what the problem is, why are we not willing

to fix it by creating the environment to promote the establishment of more

local refineries.

EDC notes with interest Governor Akpabio’s recent statement in which he

expressed his support for the removal of the subsidy, and maintained that

the subsidy was applicable to fuel imports, and therefore had no potential

to generate employment, or add to the country’s gross domestic product.

The Governor was also quoted as saying that rather than subsidizing

consumption, the government should subsidize production, pointing out that

under the subsidy, those who ran refineries were not eligible for subsidy

but were expected to sell at the regulated price, while those importing

fuel were benefiting from the subsidy.

Given the above comments and recent pronouncements by the government of

Akwa Ibom State, led by Governor Godswill Akpabio, to release the sum of

one billion dollars for the industrialization of the state that has

prompted EDC to assume that Governor Akpabio would fully support an

immediate commencement of talks with the Amakpe Refinery promoters with

the aim of finding a lasting solution to the impasse.

The Amakpe Refinery Project requires the sum of $30 million to fund the

pending receivables and construction costs to complete full implementation

at the Project site in Eket, Akwa Ibom State, and will start-up production

and be operational within six months of shipment of the completely

fabricated Refinery Equipment. Implementation of the Amakpe Refinery

Project will create over 1,000 direct jobs and about 5,000 indirect jobs

in the restive Niger Delta of Nigeria which would go a long way in

assisting the Federal Government Militancy Rehabilitation Program. Within

a few years of operation, the 6,000 BPD Amakpe Refinery will increase

its refining capacity through 12,000BPD to 50,000 BPD, and would create

over 3,000 direct jobs and 20,000 indirect jobs, with the ability to

reduce militancy and kidnappings in the Niger Delta Region .

Furthermore, the development will support the genuine efforts of the

Federal Government of Nigeria aimed at increasing local crude oil refining

capacity and making Nigeria Energy independent, which will help to address

the problem of Fuel subsidy.

Prayers:

EDC is requesting Your Excellency, Governor Godswill Akpabio to note the

urgent importance of the Project towards your Industrialization program in

Akwa Ibom State and by extension, Nigeria’s economic growth and

development and;

(a) Intervene in the seeming misunderstanding between the Primary

Promoters and the Akwa Ibom State Government.

(b) Facilitate the approval of a US$30 million loan request made by

Sterling Bank to the Bank of Industry (“BOI”) to support the completion of

the Project; and

(c) Encourage the Federal Government to grant Amakpe Refinery Project the

benefit from the Department of Petroleum Resources Fiscal Incentives for

development of Private Refineries.

EDC urges Akwa Ibom State government to reconsider its position in the

interest of the overall good of our citizens, as it strives to create

gainful employment for the citizens of Akwa Ibom State in particular and

Nigeria in general. EDC also urges both parties to enter into good faith

negotiations and find a way out of the quagmire. We believe that the

Government of Akwa Ibom State as a “senior member” of our society should

invite the Amakpe Promoters for talks in the interest of our State and for

the benefit of all.

We thank you and we look forward to your commissioning of the Amakpe

Refinery Project in the very near future.

Margaret Itauma Nwaessien Essien

National President National Secretary

Eket Development Congress USA Inc

PRESS RELEASE: EKET DEVELOPMENT CONGRESS (USA) INC.

PO Box 540106, Houston Texas USA 77254

http://www.eketusa.org/

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