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Police arrest 40 kids for setting a woman on fire in the C-River neighbourhood.



THE CLAN HEAD, Ntufam Augustine Orok, and other residents of Old Netim in Akamkpa Local Government Area, Cross River State, have complained that police officers investigating the death of Mrs. Martina Okey, a mother of four, who was set ablaze by unruly youths in July over alleged witchcraft, have turned the farming settlement into an abandoned town.

Without proof, suspected gangsters accused the late Okey of killing a certain youth in April; and again in June, stating she killed two youths who died in an accident due to witchcraft, they took her out of her house and burned her to death.

Clan Head of the community, Orok, who condemned Mrs. Okey’s murder, said many people had departed the once-bustling community due to random arrests by police, who seized and detained over 40 teenagers in connection with the horrible incident.

“There are reports on social media that the murder of Mrs. Martina Okey was carried out by the entire youth community of Old Netim, which is an incorrect conclusion.”

“When the incident occurred, some of our youths were in their farms, some in Calabar, and some in neighbouring villages far away from here, so the claim that all Old Netim youths participated in the killing is false.”

“It is the young men who go to the farm, but with all of them imprisoned, there hasn’t been enough food to eat in the last month.”

“We produce garri, plantain, okra, vegetable oil, and palm oil, and traders come from as far away as Akwa Ibom State to buy those items.” We generate enough money this way to pay our children’s school fees and buy medications, but they no longer come.

The clan chief revealed that as a result of the negative publicity, traders who used to flock to the village to buy food stopped arriving.

Under our leadership, the Old Netim community will continue to collaborate with the Cross River State Government to maintain peace, which is the foundation of progress, and we offer our undying allegiance and support to the Prince Bassey Otu administration,” he stated.

Ntufam Linu Mbey, secretary of the Old Netim Clan Council, claimed that the woman was murdered by refractory adolescents opposed to communal development.

“They committed the act in order to give our community a bad image, and unfortunately, the police are not only arresting the perpetrators but every youth in the community, which is why we are crying out and calling on the authorities to conduct an investigation and release our youths who are innocent.”

“The majority of those who committed the act have escaped, but the police are arresting our innocent youth.” The release of the youths is critical due to the hardships that innocent families are experiencing. Old Netim, a business area in Akamkpa Local Government Area known for its tranquilly, is now deserted.”

The community’s chiefs and elders pleaded with the Assistant Inspector-General of Police, Zone 6, and the State Commissioner of Police to release the boys in their custody and pursue the true culprits of the act, who are still at large.

They vowed to work with the police to find the true perpetrators.

Ms. Irene Ugbo, the Police Public Relations Officer, Cross River Police Command, said the incident was still being investigated.

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