Leo Igwe, an activist arrested last Tuesday in the ongoing onslaught against child rights activists by the Akwa Ibom State government, was released today by the Police who claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
Confirming his freedom in a telephone chat with Saharareporters, Mr. Igwe described his incarceration as a nasty experience.
“It was a terrible encounter and it was premeditated going by the way they executed the plot to hold me accountable for “kidnapping;” my hands were tied behind me and they beat me mercilessly,” he said.
He stated further, “My head was swollen and I kept massaging it so that it does not become permanent; from Tuesday night to this morning I was kept incommunicado and had no contact with either my family or my lawyers.”
Continuing his account, he said, “During my interrogation I discovered that my case was worsened by the fact that I was an Anti Witchcraft advocate; they kept saying that I was a fraudster making money from the child witch phenomenon so it was funny for them to say that it was a case of mistaken identity.”
It will be recalled that Governor Akpabio had promised to make life uncomfortable for NGO’s working on children’s rights in the state when he ordered the arrest of Sam Ikpe-Itauma in a radio broadcast last year.
The Governor reportedly promised that “Heads will Roll” when he was reacting to a report aired by CNN on the child witch situation.
Sam Ikpe-Itauma is currently being hounded and is facing charges of witchcraft stigmatization along with a Pastor who, in a documentary aired on BBC Channel 4, confessed to having killed over 100 “child witches.”
However, the Akwa Ibom State Commissioner for Information told Saharareporters from Abuja today that Mr. Igwe was arrested in a bank for "fraud-related issues", and that the current prosecution of Ikpe-Ituama was as a result of a court bench warrant that summoned him to testify in the ongoing case against the pastor.
The Commissioner’s explanation concerning Mr. Igwe is significantly different from the “mistaken identify” statement attributed to the Police, unless it means that the Police arrested the activist believing he was someone else.