A six- year- old girl, Edidiong Etok Akpan, who was subjected to a harrowing treatment by her father, Edet Etok Akpan, was rescued after she had been locked up in a room with her hands tied and mouth covered with a piece of cloth for five days.
Edidiong said her 42-year-old father started beating her on Tuesday,19th of February, after one Prophetess Endurance, the pastor of the church they attend, told “my father that I was a witch and I was the one making him not to progress in life”.
She said after the severe beatings, which, according to her, lasted for two days, on Thursday, 21st February, her father tied her hands with a cord and covered her mouth with a piece of cloth and “locked me in the inner room of our house and he never gave me food and never allowed me to go to school ”.
The girl, who said she attends Femos Nursery and Primary School, located at 24 Etyin Abasi Street, Calabar, was dying after days without food or water when luck came her way on Sunday, 23rd February, at about 11 am, as another child who lives in the same with her family came to their veranda, looked through the window and saw Edidiong bound on the floor and screamed. “The girl called her parents and neighbours to come and see Edidiong tied like a goat inside their house”, Mr James Ibor of the Basic Rights Counsel, a child rights advocate lawyer, who was called to the scene, said.
Ibor said that when the neighbours saw the girl in that state, one of them called him and he, in turn, informed the officer in charge of legal matters at the Cross River State Police Command headquarters, Superintendent George, and they both drove to the place.
“As we were going there, we also informed the police at Efuk, Mbukpa to join us.When we got there, we saw a crowd outside and we knew that,that was the place and we went in and carried out the rescue by breaking the door”.
He said the girl was “very weak because she had been without food for days and so we had to give her water first, then, after about ten minutes, we gave her milk before solid food an hour later”.
Ibor said the father and mother had locked up the girl in the inner room of their two- room apartment and went to church in the hope that by the time they came back, the girl may have died. “God saved her and she is now living with her grandmother in another part of town,”the lawyer said.
DSP John Umoh, Cross River State Police Command spokesman, said the father, from Akwa Ibom State, had been arrested and would soon appear in court to answer charges of felony. “To tie a small girl hand and mouth and lock her in a room for days without food is a grievious offence; he (the father) will soon appear in court”, Umor added.