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Fear of witches

Posted by By JOE EFFIONG, Uyo on 2007/08/21 | Views: 882 |

Fear of witches


Akwa Ibom State governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday, August 14, inivited the paramount rulers from the 31 Local Government Areas in the state for a parley at the ministry of local goverment and chieftaincy affairs in Uyo.

•Akwa Ibom traditional rulers asks governor to tackle witchcraft

Akwa Ibom State governor, Obong Godswill Akpabio on Tuesday, August 14, inivited the paramount rulers from the 31 Local Government Areas in the state for a parley at the ministry of local goverment and chieftaincy affairs in Uyo. For a person, who made his political marks mostly from that ministry, where he served as commisssioner in Victor Attah's regime, Akpabio was at home with the royal fathers, many of whom were coronated in his tenure.

Before sending the press away from the hall, the governor had announced some juicy package for the royal fathers. These included a brand new car for each of the 31 paramount rulers and another N20 million each to the paramount rulers of Ini, Eastern Obolo and Ika Local Government Areas as assistance to rehabilitate their palaces vandalised or destoyed by militants or communal clash hoodlums.

Assuming that the governor had done what none of his predecessors had done to the royal fathers, the event managers asked the chairman of the state council of chiefs and paramount rulers of Udung Uko, HRM, Offong Ati Okpo, to respond.
The chief of chiefs did not disappoint. First, he thanked Akpabio for breaking the record in terms of providing them with temporal benefits, but he added that their major problem was more of spiritual than temporal: withcraft.

He said: "Pay more attention to this issue of witchcraft in our society. The police should do more work without collecting money to let the culprits go unpunished.
"This witchcraft problem is everywhere, but it's more prevalent in Oron axis. People are just branded witches and wizards carelessly. The other day, I saw a little child of about seven years on the road. They had chased her out of the house claiming that she was a witch. I don't know where she is now. So, His Excellency, we want to help you build this state, but please help us tackle this witchcraft problem in our localities."

Governor Akapbio did not respond to that, at least not when the press was still around. So, witches and wizards, or those in the habit of branding people such in Akwa Ibom state, beware because the governor had earlier announced the constitution of a joint task force called Operation Mensa or something close to that.

They said the group, which would comprise army, police, navy, civil defence and other military and paramilitary personnel would go after armed robbers and every other people with criminal tedencies. But the governor did not include witches yet.
"I can't preside over state where armed robbers would come in, cook food, eat, steal, then go unmolested. We have thus acquired 46 brand new Hilux Jeeps specially equipped for the job." He said.
Who knows maybe, the terms of reference of the joint task force would be extended to incorporate hunt of witches. Or maybe, a specially contract would be awarded to tackle witchcraft problem as it appears to have defied all moral reason.

The former governor, Obong Victor Attah, was once so pissed off with the witchcraft question that he challenged church leaders to always spiced up their prayers with a rebuke of witches and wizards since it sounded too archaic in the 21st century.

If Akpabio were to award contract on that score, maybe, he would be carefull not to give it to such contractors who constructed the state university of technology and the state international airport as he had openly expressed his disappointment over the abysmal performance of such contractors. He said some of the contractors had collected 90 per cent of the contract sum even when the job done never exceeded 20 per cent.
However the question is: Will the royal father rather handle the witchcraft contract by themselves to ensure the contractors are not bewitched to drop it halfway after collecting the mobilisation fees?

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