A 55-year-old man Festus Anyanime has been sentenced to death by hanging on Tuesday by the High Court sitting in Akamkpa Local Government Area Of Cross River State for killing his 11-year-old twin daughters over allegations they were witches.
The State High Court, headed by Justice Agnes Onyebueke, in sentencing the convict to death, ruled that the convict took the law into his hands by killing his 11-year-old set of female twins, Mfoniso Anyanime and Emediong Anyanime, a crime which the residents of the community said is a “taboo.”
A source in Akamkpa community said the convict mixed a poisonous substance with malt drink and forced the twins to drink them, which led to the death of one of the twins while the second crawled away from the scene before she was rescued by a passerby. She later died.
In a judgement delivered on Tuesday in suit no: HK/6C/2018, Justice Onyebueke said the convict behaved like a demon and Satan because his act was beyond human comprehension.
Reacting to the judgement, principal counsel, Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) and chairperson of Child Protection Network (CPN) in Cross River State, Barr. James Ibor, said it was victory for the victims.
Ibor urged the residents of the state to steer clear from branding their neighbours as witches and reject ritual killings so that they can peacefully co-exist with one another.
“We use this opportunity to thank Justice Onyebueke for her courage, Hon. Attorney General Tanko Ashang and his able team, the Commissioner of Police Cross River State and the General Hospital, Akamkpa, UNICEF and staff and volunteers of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative.
“This is a great victory for the victims: Mfoniso Anyanime and Emediong Anyanime and the government of Cross River State at a period witchcraft branding and ritual killing have become a pastime in the state,” he said.
Ibor, who doubles as secretary, Cross River State Administration of Criminal Justice Monitoring Committee, said the United Nations (UN) has charged nations of the world to take strict measures against abuse of any form linked to beliefs on witchcraft and ritual sacrifice.
He urged religious organisations in the state to desist from branding people as witches and warned that the state would not relent in prosecuting those who are involved in blood money and ritual killing.