Clampdown On Child Rights Activists In Akwa Ibom State: Leo Igwe Arrested By Police On the Orders Of Gov. Akpabio

Leo Igwe
By SaharaReporters, New York

SaharaReporters has confirmed the arrest in Akwa Ibom State, of another child rights activist, Mr. Leo Igwe.

 Mr. Igwe, a leader and representative of International Humanist and Ethical Union (IHEU) in Africa, was arrested by the police in Akwa Ibom State earlier today as the state governor Goodswill Akpabio begins clamping down on activists involved in the rescue of children accused of witchcraft.

Mr. Akpabio had vowed to jail the activists for bringing his administration into disrepute over the campaign against the harmful traditional practice, which violate the rights of children in the state.

A family member told Saharareporters that Mr. Igwe and his colleague, Ernest Asuquo, are currently being held at the anti-kidnapping unit at the police command in Uyo. The men are being held incommunicado and have not been allowed to speak to any member of his family or his lawyers.

Mr. Igwe, along with Sam Ituama, who runs a homeless shelter for rescued child “witches,” have been working on the campaign against child abuse in Akwa Ibom State.  The successful campaigns have exposed the depth of the harmful practice in the state.  But it has also pitched the activists against the state governor, who recently accused them of “corruption”.

Yesterday, Saharareporters reported on the governor’s attempt to railroad Mr. Ituama into the dock in a separate trial of someone else in which he had merely been invited to testify.

Mr. Igwe, for his part, has led a statewide campaign and has freed many children who were accused of being witches. A few days ago he freed a child who fled persecution because of the accusation by her family that she was a witch and was found living with a lunatic.

Speaking to SaharaReporters from Washington DC, Mr. Igwe’s younger brother, Uche, said, ”We are outraged and we urge the Akwa Ibom State government to immediately and unconditionally release these activists (Leo and Earnest) who are helping to advance the rights of abandoned children and who are fighting relentlessly for the abolition of the inhuman act of killing innocent citizens in the name of belief.”

SaharaReporters tried reaching officials of the Akwa State government to obtain their reaction but was told a majority of them were already in Abuja for the Peoples Democratic Party presidential primaries holding tomorrow to pick the ruling party’s presidential flagbearer.
 

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Whao

What is wrong with this Governor

Akpabio Has no Conscience

Yes, this same Akpabio visited the CRARN center where these children are housed and made flowery speeches and promises for the press, he signed a law against stigmatization of children. What use a law that is not enforced.
Since 2009 when the law was made, Akwa Ibom state governor has not charged any one for abusing and killing children, even the ones Akpabio saw with six inch nail in her head and 4 years old children with machete cut wounds or acid burns a the CRARN center.
Akpabio thought that having a photo opportunity was enough, but the community do not agree. Today he is investing the resource he could use to save the children of Akwa Ibom state in harassing the very people he should be cooperating with to save children.
Concerned citizens have put up a petition calling for investigation into this, please read and sign this petition here:
http://humanrights.change.org/petitions/view/stop_the_killing_of_childre...

I'm Voting for a Man of Integrity

Only Ribadu can get my vote. He is a man of integrity.

While GEJ and Atiku are fighting over zoning and buying up delegate$, Ribadu is the only aspirant in this race with a real manifesto (http://ribadu2011.com) detailing how to bring hope to Nigeria and Nigerians.

You can download http://ribadu2011.com your copy of Nuhu Ribadu’s Pathway to a New Nigeria, a 16-page document summarizing the fundamental problems facing our country and how he plans to fix them.

It's free for all Nigerians at home and abroad to download. http://ribadu2011.com

Only Ribadu can get my vote. He is a man of integrity.

Crown Already Off His Head!!!

Akpabio does not know nor perceive that the crown of govnorship of Akwa-Ibom state is already off his head in the spirit realm. He does not know that the Creator of those victimised children is not sleeping neither is He slumbering. God watches over His creation jealously but it is sad that those in power feel so egocentrically by feeling that their soul is superior to those they are governing.

If Akpabio wants to regain that crown, which is already off his head, he needs to repent and make amend by apologising to those children he has maltreated through his persecution of the activists that have championed the deliverance of those kids from satanic and destructive culture.

What is happening in Akwa-Ibom state is least expected from the governor in charge of that state. Instead of collaborating with those activists, he's busy plotting ways to cover the evils behind the so called child-witch issue. If Akpabio is enlightened as expected of him, he ought to see the work that those activists are doing as complimentary to the development of the society he governs. It is sad that most present day Nigerian leaders are misfits and accomplices of evil and promoters of crimes against the very weak in our society.

Akpabio should make his way right with God 1st, then apologise to those weak children that cannot defend themselves by releasing the detained activists unconditionally and give them required freedom to do their work unhindered in a lawful manner.

errant Governor?

Sam Itauma's organization CRARN and the work they are doing for the area's victimized children though in line with the Governor's stated policy; looks to have become an embarrassment to a government, which has made the usual political speeches loaded with promises that typically end up with no action.

Itauma took the problem by the horns and opened up a low budget site to cater for these kids. He formed an NGO, got the word out, and the number of children his organization cares for has grown.

Itauma has also gotten a lot of media attention, has been on BBC, CNN, Facebook etc, and is easily found in google searches. As a contrast youtube hits for Itauma are of his work, most of the hits for the Governor are for his speeches.

I am not saying the Governor talks and Itauma acts, draw your own conclusion.

This publicity over the last 3 years may have irked the Governor, who professes to be on the side of the children, but is now detaining activists who say they are working to save the children.

The Governor is on record saying the issue is being exxagerated. He signed a bill carrying sentences of up to 15 years, 5 people being prosecuted, but how about the kids already put out into the street? The Governor says there are 3 centers to cater for children in the state, and that he thinks there are pecuniary interests by those who he believes are "propagating" the stories, media propaganda against the state, he then says that the report is basically false… apparently he has given the center 10 million naira, see his ire at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Pkc70_RzbkE

Does the Governor save face by putting Itauma in the cooler? Is the alleged 10 million naira donation to the center real? When will Nigeria's so called public servants learn to embrace the notion that they are servants of the people? A rational person would maybe have asked people like Itauma and the directors of other private and government children victim centers to quickly study the matter and propose an action plan within 90 days, and worked hand in hand with those who have highlighted the evil situation, and maybe, just maybe this would have ended up a win-win for all who hold our dear children as sacred.

The reason why!

why africa and nigeria in particular is where it is today in our stading along side others in terms of development is as a result of of our morbid obsession with superstition. of all races, none is as deeply submerged in this most irrational, fruitless and profoundly damaging falsehood that superstion is. our underdevelopment as a race can be justifiably blamed entirely on our deep romance with it, where as rational thinking in form of scientific knowledge is almost totally absent. so long as we vehemently oppose the power of logic in form of science, we will remain grounded in underdevelopment and will be tactically treated as sub-humans before others.

Don't you see the Link?

Don't you see the link? These child rights activists are securing the children from being used for rituals-required by Nigerian politicians. Akpabio & his type no longer have children for their cannibalism. That's why the child rights activists must be taken off the streets before electioneering really starts.

Noise Maker Forum

I love this forum, because many people here are all "Noise Maker".......

madness

look at an executive who is supposed to uphold the law,,,he goes about pushin his personal vendatta against people who tell the truth..witout people like igwe and those who provided the movies the witchchildren in akwa ibom,,such troubles of dat state would be unknown..so now how can he justify what he has done..Mr Akapbio be smart atleast allow them see thier lawyers...

POINT OF OBSERVATION

We (myself and my wife) never contributed to this topic but have seen names likened to ours. Probably someone has tried to take advantage of the fact that Akpabio has some outstanding issue with my family where his government told lies us. He really injured us with those lies but thank God most people are aware that he was only trying to get at his mentor former Governor Attah through us and for what reason? We have committed no offence other than helped Akpabio to where he is today. We have forgiven him though but it is only left to God to do so if He pleases, but I doubt because he still plans bad for us with pretences.

Nevertheless, I have been following this development of witch or no-witch children thing as it concerns Akwa Ibom. Governor Akpabio passed a good law which required people not to stigmatize the suspected child witches. I believe himself and those people that are now said to be detained on his orders are working towards the same goal and therefore I doubt he issued such arrest orders.

Really he needs to come out clear with a statement to say he did not, if not it would be assumed he did. It will be good for him otherwise like many have remarked, it would seem he has acted from both side of his thought.

almighty governor

we leave the almighty governor to the hands of God,we wud not judge,the one who says suffer not the children to come to him will judge him
the GOD who removed saul and replaced with david,what can he not do.iMEAN this governor,as the LORD LIVES AND HIS SPIRIT LIVES,YOU,YOUR CHILDREN,YOUR GRANDCHILDREN WILL REAP ALL THAT YOU HAVE SOWN INJESUS NAME.

The issues first

SR & anyone familiar with the case should give us some details about the grounds for arrest. What was reported & most of the comments here are just rhetorics. Only the background to the issues sorrounding the arrest will be useful in ensuring the release of these harmless two before any harm visits them. Insulting the Governor, GEJ, the FG or even calling all Nigerians stupid may be right from a safe distance (abroad) but it is not useful on the ground. Southerners never fail to amaze me on their 'I sabi' standing & 'copy-copy' techniques but always missing the important points in their tactics.

What is this?

It is not true that Akpabio took such action. May be people are mad thinking he did. Is he not the one fighting for those kids?

AKPABIOs BABARIC ATTITUDE

This power drunk man has outlived his usefulness, I think it is a fucntion of time....

@ okoloyaga: as your name

@ okoloyaga: as your name implies, your forefathers, great grandfathers, grandfathers, your father and yourself are all beneficiaries of the Child-Witch Business for their ritual purposes that is why you are angry about any child's right Activist. Your guys business has been trauncated by Mr. Leo and others that is why you guys want him arrest so that your business can go on. But believe me the Almighty God will never allow it again to happen. The arrest of Mr. Leo and others will see to the end of you and your cohorts business. BASTARD.

I DID NOT SUBMIT ANY COMMENT ON THIS!

Though I did not submit any comment on this topic, I saw the names that looked like mine and and my wife in one of the comments. Though it could be coincidence of names, which many would find hard to believe or that someone knowing that all is not well between Akpabio and my family for lies he told about us, decided to do that. Nevertheless, I have been following the incident on the child witches and wizards in Akwa Ibom. They are being traumatized really. Therefore I supported the law which Governor Akpabio did bring to bear on those that traumatize those kids. But where I got confused is why the Governor is detaining those who are doing his own bidding. Or could it be that I am the one that do understand the views of the divides differently. I doubt if Governor Akpabio gave such order. My advice to him is that he should speak up on this in order to clear his stand.

Two Sides to a Coin!

I am struggling hard to find the connection or motive why Gov Akpabio would antagonise the Activist for fighting against the practice of culling Children 'witches'. I find myself asking why would Gov Akpabio 'hound', antagonise and arrest this activist if, seemingly, they are working on the same side and both sides appear to believe in ending Child abuse and this barbaric practice of culling of young children.

From some contributions below, I read that Governor Akpabio is said to be in favour of ending this practice. So is the activist. One or two comments even allege that the Governor recently signed into Law, a state Law abolishing the practice.

So what then would be his motive for antagonising the activist, that is, if he engineered or made the arrest? It does not add up! Unless, of course, the Governor is the ARROWHEAD of the practice of witchcraft, but pretending or posturing to the whole world to be fighting against it. If this is the case, why did he go as far as to sign into Law a Bill to abolish the practice? It simply does not add up! A house divided against itself does not stand.

Unfortunately, the report did not disclose any other motive or connection regarding why two sides that, seemingly, appear to be working together, now seem to be working against each other, besides the issue of CORRUPTION. Could it be that the activist was arrested in connection with CORRUPTION? Or, is he trying to deflect us away from the REAL reason behind his arrest?

And if it is the case that corruption is the motive for the arrest, is it Gov Akpabio's place or duty to arrest the Activist or that of the Police? Or, the EFCC, if it concerns their remit? And is it also the case, that since the Governor allegedly arrested the Activist, from the report, that he is being 'held' at the Government House in Akwa Ibom? Caution is required here, applying SOLOMON's wisdom.

Until one hears from the Government's side, the account of the Activist, if this is where SR got their information from, must be taken with a pinch of salt, as it all does not add up. There are two sides to a coin, I was taught while growing up!

I am living in Akwa ibom and

I am living in Akwa ibom and sometimes when i hear the kind of stories that emanate from the newspapers i really wonder whether the some section of the press in nigeria mean well at all for this country. No Governor has the right to arrest anybody in Nigeria, Sahara reporters what are you writing sef?Sahara reporters has just been paid by opposition forces in Akwa Ibom to give Akpabio a bad name in order to hang him in the forth coming elections, The kind of development in Akwa ibom today cannot be compared to any state in nigeria, i have travelled wide and i have seen, pls leave Akpabio alone, fight your battles elsewhere, how can the governor arrest activist and at the same time sign a bill against child abuses, make sure every child residing in Akwa is in school, pls people put ur thinking caps on before typing on your keyboards.Akwa ibom has witnessed tremendous change in the past 12 years. Let good things continue in states that are progressive in Nigeria like Akwa Ibom, Lagos etc. lest not destruy them because we feel the opposition must win before elections in Nigeria are called free and fair. Peace

Re: Clampdown on Child Right's Activist.

Wetin sef? People talk as if they came from the moon. The Governor is thriving financially and spiritually on this witchcraft issue. PDP depends on human sacrifice to thrive. From East to West, North to South shedding of blood any every guise has dogged our political landscape where PDP holds sway! It takes the shedding of blood for People Deceiving People, PDP, to remain in power. So kindly leave Akpabio to enjoy his lot because no PDP GOVERNMENT WILL RAISE AN EYEBROW. This is Nigeria. So all you people from the moon welcome to Nigeria.

In view of the incessant

In view of the incessant commotion in Akwa-Ibom state,Gov Akpabio is a failed leader who must be voted out.
My advice to Atahiru Jega is to hold elections state -by -state (not nationwide )and invite the UN to utilize its military wing to protect ballot boxes and maintain the security and integrity of the polling stations and entire process until INEC announces the winners.
This is the best solution for Nigeria!

Re: Leo Igwe arresyed on the orders of Gov Akpabio

The war has started in earnest!

When I wrote the piece on Governor Akpabio and children of Akwa Ibom state a short while ago, some professional critics on the web felt that I had over-stepped my boundary. They felt that I was not being fair to the "educated" and "intelligent" Gov Akpabio. Now that the unpleasant scenario is unfolding, and with benefit of hindsight, my article was more than prophetic. Here is a governor who is nothing more than a power-hungry politician, only intent on retaining power at all costs. I have always been suspicious of his recently established commission of inquiry into witchcraft and I am happy that the sham has now been exposed. The trash of a commission is better scrapped!

It is sad that when thousands of children are suffering with their future permanently compromised by an unfounded allegation, a governor that swore to be protective to them could now be counted amongst their chief persecutors. By this wholesomely unreasonable act, Governor Godswill Akpabio has abdicated his primary responsibility and is acting against the constitution of Nigeria – if ever there was such a document. Of course, our moribund Federal Government has remained very silent on the whole saga to date. Perhaps now would be the worst time to expect any meaning Federal response – not when Goodluck Jonathan is fighting for his political soul. Nigerian children have become pawns in a dangerous power-play and the diabolical Pentecostals and other merchants of evil are smiling. The field is now open and innocent for the likes of Helen Ukpabio and her co-travellers on the path of perdition. Some day, a Solomon would surely come to judgement in Nigeria!

Someone needs to tell Akpabio that the struggle against child witchcraft is not confined to Akwa Ibom state and definitely not limited to Leo Igwe and Sam Ituama. It has become a global crusade and Akpabio would need a very large jail to hold many activists. Akpabio should be ready to combat the backlash of reactions his anti-progressive stance on child witchcraft would generate. He has a legion of activists to arrest indeed!

It is definitely a season of anomie in Nigeria, especially in the run-up to another round of (s)election. The centre, which has been shaky for a long while, is refusing to hold and more than anarchy is creeping on the land. In a country where there is a seating government, bombs explode anyhow and at anytime like Christmas crackers. Government officials attend such sites promptly threatening brimstone and fire – end of story. They then wait for another round of anarchy to make their odious presence felt. Jonathan appeared politically and intellectually emasculated yet wants the future of Nigeria committed to him. Any event in our dear country that could jettison his inordinate ambition is completely ignored. In this scenario, we expect little reaction from Mr Jonathan on victimised and stigmatised children in Akwa Ibom. Thus, Akpabio may really have a field day.

I rest this submission on my complete confidence in the integrity of our judiciary, the ordinary man’s last hope. I am convinced that the unwise adventure of over-ambitious Mr Godswill Akpabio would be checkmated. This I have absolute confidence in. Leo Igwe, Sam Itauma and others who engaged in this crusade very well knew that it is associated with risks from inordinately ambitious and anti-progressive elements. While we give our unreserved support to Leo Igwe, Sam Itauma, Gary Foxcroft and others, to Godswill Akpabio, the message remains the same – the struggle has barely started!!

Some explanation please Mr. governor

Wonders shall never end. Is it not the same governor talking that no one should maltreat kids who are innocent and now being stigmatize or was he pretending.
Mr. Governor please give explanation to this.

I AM CONFUSED ABOUT AKPABIO

I thought that the same governor has signed a law making it punishable for anyone who suffers the child-witch. To me these guys he has just arrested are actually helping him. Or was he paying lipservice to his so called intention. He looks insincere and he should be careful not to be called a ritualist just as he is being assumed to be a kidnapper and killer. These stigma would stay with him for a long time to come. Is he a double-standarder?

This ''Activist'' is a Kidnapper

You want a kidnapper to released? Akpabio should grab his tail tite

Clampdown on Child's Activist in Akwa Ibom

Gov. Akpabio is drawin a very bad attention to himself and history would not be kind to him. Akpabio should remmebr that time changes everything and arbitrary arrests, detentions and abuses would haunt him as thedeath fo Dele Giwa is haunting Gen. Babangida today like Abacha;s records. It's up to Akpaio and what it take is for him to kill one useless persom before he realizes that he has made a serious mistake.

RE:ARREST OF CHILD RIGHT ACTIVISTS

Honestly to me it's not a suprise, considering what is happening among d ruling class in d country, they are ritualists.

AKPABIO HAS NO SHAME/CONSCIENCE

THIS DEADLY PRACTICE OF INFANTICIDE AND JUVENILE OSTRACISATION STILL PERSISTS IN AKWA IBOM, AKPABIO SWALLOWS HIS AKAMU COMFORTABLY EVERY MORNING YET CONFRONTED BY THIS NEWS WHICH PUTS A WHOLE NATION TO SHAME. WITH THE PERSECUTION OF PEOPLE RAISING AWARENESS OF THIS DESPICABLE ACT AKPABIO HAS VIRTUALLY CONDEMNED VULNERABLE CHILDREN TO THE WHIMS OF IGNORANT INDIGENES OF HIS STATE. INSREAD OF BACKING CAMPAIGNERS WITHALL AVAILABLE INSTRUMENTS OF HIS STATE HE IS NOW ARRESTING THEM. O WONDER AKWA IBOM HAS GONE BACK TO THE AGE OF THE CRUCIBLES.
SHAME ON YOU AKPABIO

humanists versus the "winchcraft" industry

These humanists are guilty of sabotaging the "winchcraft" industry, which is an economic engine for pentacostals in the southeastern area of 9ja-land. No industry can function without "raw materials", in this case innocent children. PDP 4 ever!!!

Wonders shall never end.

What is the FG doing to address this ugly situation. This is a hot topic in western world becos of foolish, obsolete culture which needs to be changed.

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THIS FOOLISH GOVERNOR?

WHY ARE NIGERIANS SO STUPID? THIS FOOL SUPPOSE TO BE OUR EMPLOYEE NOT OUR RULER FOR GOD SAKE, NIGERIANS PLEASE WAKE UP AND CLAIM BACK YOUR LAND
FROM THIS EVIL(PDP) LAW BREAKERS, IT DOES NOT MATTER WHAT TRIBE YOU ARE LETS START TO FIGHT FOR ONE AND OTHER, TODAT ITS HIM, TOMORROW IT COULD BE A MEMBER OF YOUR FAMILY, THIS IGNORANCE MUST STOP, WE DIDN'T GET THIS BAD EVEN UNDER THE MILITARY.