By Frank Ulom
The Governor of Cross River State, Senator Bassey Otu has ordered the arrest of those involved in the killing of a mother of four, Mrs Martina Okey Itagbor after branding her as a “witch”.
In a statement signed by Emmanuel Ogbeche, Chief Press Secretary to the Governor on Friday (June 30), Otu noted that all forms of brigandage and criminal acts will not be tolerated, and will be met with the full weight of the law.
It said the Governor finds the allegation if proven true, to be repulsive and against all civility.
The statement read in part: “My attention has been drawn to the alleged burning to death of a citizen of the state, Madam Martina Okey Itagbor of Old Netim in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the State by some unscrupulous, wild and criminal-minded youths.
“It is sheer savagery and cowardice for the youths or anybody to take the laws into their hands, more so, involving a helpless woman.
“Such abhorrent acts have no place in a constitutional democracy that Nigeria practices which our state is part of.
“Our people must do away with all relics of culture that promote violence, murder and criminality such as in this instance.
“To this end, I am directing the Commissioner of Police in the state to mobilise all tactical and investigative assets and ensure that the perpetrators of this heinous act are brought to justice.
“I further wish to warn against all of such acts as we have laws and statutes to deal with issues of wrongdoings and disagreements.
“As an administration committed to the People’s First Agenda, my administration will be intolerant to acts capable of breaching the peace, endangering citizens and businesses and portraying the state in a bad light.
“I urge all community leaders, religious institutions and civil society organisations to do more in the area of civic education while championing the crusade for tolerance and respecting constituted authority, especially amongst our youths as anyone found taking the laws into their hands will be made to have their day in court.”
The governor also extended his deepest condolences to the family of the deceased and community.
CONVERSEER earlier reported that Mrs Itagbor was accused of witchcraft and burnt to death on June 18, 2023, by irate youths of Old Netim in Akamkpa Local Government Area of the State, who later swept her ashes into the gutter and washed it away.
So far, 14 persons have been fingered for the killing of Itagbor, they are Christopher Sunday Mbey (Leader), Festus Etim Umoh (Dep. Leader), Emem Etim Umoh, Enearokot Omonga Peter, Stephen aka Pompori, Obaji and Destiny Ime Brown.
Others are Joseph Omonga Orok, Eyu Adogo, Louis Bassey Peter, Orok Okon Orok, Mesembe Anembe, Malachi Sylvanus and Thelfa Okon Nyong.