Charles Nwoke, Abakaliki, Nigeria.
Above image courtesy of local news services.
Master Ifeanyi Umoke, a 13-year-old lad from Inikiri – Ezza Effium community in Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State is currently passing through excruciating pains at the Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki, FETHA2, to stay alive following first degree burns he sustained after he was thrown into a burning furnace by one Paul Ifere Amah and Paul Nweke, who accused him of stealing rice at the market square.
In a report made available to newsmen in Abakaliki by Human Rights group, HURIDE, this little boy in question has lost his mother while the father is bedridden with chronic mental illness.
It was gathered that the Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE) Chairman Ebonyi State chapter, Sampson Oko Nweke, got a call from Mr. George Etamesor of the HRCRC over this grave abuse and barbaric act meted out on the poor child.
“Because he was caught trying to steal some rice in their village market, he was tied up, thrown into burning flames at a refuse dump in the market, and allowed to roast like a goat. The perpetrators, Mr. Paul Ifere Amah and Mr. Paul Nweke of the same village after committing this evil, saw the critical condition of their victim, yet they abandoned him to groan to death. It took the intervention of sympathizers to rush him to AMURT hospital there in Effium, but due to the severity of the damages, the burnt boy was declined treatment. Efforts were thereafter made to bring him to AE-FETHA2 where he is currently battling between life and death”, said Sampson Oko Nweke.
When HURIDE interviewed the perpetrators, they said; “Ifeanyi has been in the habit of stealing cassava, yam, and others. So, this time, we caught him stealing our rice and we decided to teach him a lesson so that he will not come back to steal our food again”. “It was not our intention to burn his whole body. We only tied him up and after beating him, we tried to roast his toes in the fire, but because he was struggling, he slipped off our hands and fell into the fire and got burnt beyond our expectation”, he added.
Nigeria Police have been briefed about the development.
HURIDE commended Comrade George Etamesor, (the state Director of HRCRC) and Comrade Abraham C. Egbe (HURIDE finance officer) as well as Comrade (Barr) Sampson N. Ekigbo the head of the legal unit for their efforts to save the life of the boy.