Man, Wife, Pastor in Court for Labeling Boy as Wizard

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Father to Saviour Emmanuel, Mr. Anthony Emmanuel Akpan, 35, and his wife who doubles as stepmother to the victim, Tity Thomas Akpan, 27, stood before the Court on Monday, July 22, for accusing their son of witchcraft and subsequently torturing him.

Also before the court were a pastor of Zion Peace Church, Ini Okon Henshaw, 31, and Deaconess, Mary Ukeme Smith, 45, for the same offence.

The accused were charged with a two-count charge of conspiracy and accusation of the Boy.

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The first charge reads in part: “that you, Ini Okon Henshaw ‘M’, Mary Ukeme Smith Udo ‘F’, Anthony Emmanuel Akpan ‘M’, Tity Thomas Akpan ‘F’ and others now at large, sometimes in the month of February, 2019 at Ikot Akpaobong, Mkpat Enin in the Mkpat Enin Chief Magisterial District, did conspire amongst yourselves to commit misdemeanor to wit: Accusation of witchcraft and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 552 of the criminal code, cap 38, vol.2, laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, 2000”.

The second charge reads also in part: “that you, Ini Okon Henshaw ‘M’, Mary Ukeme Smith Udo ‘F’, Anthony Emmanuel Akpan ‘M’, Tity Thomas Akpan ‘F’ and others now at large sometimes in the month of February, 2019 at Ikot Akpaobong, Mkpat Enin in the Mkpat Enin Chief Magisterial District did accuse one Saviour Ubong Emmanuel ‘M’ of being a witch and thereby committed an offence punishable under section 211(b) of the criminal code, cap 38, vol.2, laws of Akwa Ibom State of Nigeria, 2000. To these charges, the offenders pleaded “not guilty”.

The defense counsel, Barr. Nsidibe Douglas, pleaded that the accused persons be granted bail while requesting the prosecutor, Ubon Isong, to furnish him with necessary facilities for appropriate legal representation of the accused.

Presiding over the case at the Mkpat Enin Magistrate Court, Magistrate Iwakowo Essien ruled that the offenders be granted bail of N100,000 each, with the parents of the accused providing one surety, while others will provide two sureties.

The case was then adjourned till August 2, 2019, for further hearing.