By Leo Igwe
An advocate brought to the attention of the Advocacy for Alleged Witches(AfAW) a Facebook post on an alleged witch boy in Rivers state. The post had this headline: “I Am A Witch: I Have Killed Many People- Alleged Little Witch Confesses in Rivers State”. The post further states: “My mission today is to walk through Mbiama Community. I am a witch and I have killed many here in Mbiama. I am tired of the nightlife and the darkness”. The post says that the boy was “allegedly seen flying to settle down about 2 am yesterday”. There was no image of the boy flying. Instead, the post had photos of the boy walking on the street.
The post noted that the child identified as Marvellous confessed at Mbiama Town Hall in Ahoada West LGA of Rivers State. While confessing, he said he would take the paramount ruler and the general public around the houses of people he had killed. The AfAW drew the attention of the police, FIDA, and the NHRC to the incident. But nobody could ascertain the child’s whereabouts. The AfAW despatched one of its advocates in Rivers state to the community to trace and ascertain the situation of the boy.
According to the advocate “The journey took about 3 hours from Port Harcourt to Mbiama community which is in the boundary of Rivers and Bayelsa states”. When he got to the Mbiama community, an ethnic clan of the Ijaw, he tried talking to some people but they were suspicious and could not tell him what happened. So he decided to visit the palace of Mbiama’s paramount ruler, Slyvanus Smith. On getting there, the traditional ruler was in a celebratory mood. It was his birthday. Still, he granted him an audience. According to the traditional ruler, the incident happened on a Monday morning. Some people found the boy around 3 am. People were shocked that a little boy was moving around the village at that time. They apprehended him but the supposed witch boy said he was hungry. They asked him where he resided and he pointed at a shop. They took him to the shop and found out it was an empty store. On further questioning, the boy started confessing how he was into witchcraft, and how he was initiated by his father who, according to him, killed his mother. It is important to note that what children say or respond is often a factor of how the adults interrogate them. Mobs usually pose questions that suggest witchcraft.
The boy said his father initiated him and always demanded blood from him. That he usually carried out his operation from 3 am. At this time the father would magically empower and enable him to carry out the operations.
He also confessed to draining the blood of about 4 kids in the community. Children were mainly his targets. He was not draining the blood of elderly persons. They later took him to a police checkpoint where he narrated the same story. The police were about to detain him but the youths suggested that the case be taken to the paramount ruler, Sylvanus Smith. While this was going on, a person who identified as the boy’s caregiver arrived. When the case got to the king of the community, he asked the caregiver how he was related to the boy. The man said the boy was his late younger sister’s son. He brought from Owerri after the death of his mother. It wasn’t clear whom the boy was staying with in Owerri. According to the king, the father of the boy is said to be living in Calabar, Cross River State.
The caregiver said the boy used to go out in the night before he came back from work; that he had tried to stop the boy from doing that to no avail. Sometimes he flogged him or tied him up. The king asked the boy what he was doing outside at that time of the night. The boy said the same thing as mentioned earlier and then he asked him to demonstrate how he used to suck or drain the blood of his victims. The boys made some funny facial expressions.
Then the boy said he could show them the children, that he had drained their blood in the Mbiama community. They all agreed to go with him so that he could show them the kids. He walked them around the town until he saw two kids and identified them to be among his victims. They discovered one of the kids lacked blood and was ill. He asked the boy (marvelous) what would happen to the kids now. He said when they drained the blood from them they would get sick and eventually die. That there was no remedy for it except he was given some money to travel to Calabar, there he could find a remedy. The king also said they interviewed the parents of the supposed victims, and they confirmed that their kids had been healthy until recently, which according to the king, was a confirmation that the witch boy’s confession was true and should not be doubted.
But in his wisdom, the traditional ruler didn’t allow any harm to come to the boy because he felt pity for him. He was of the view that it was not his fault but the father’s because the father initiated the child into the witchcraft world. The traditional ruler decided to let the boy go, instructing the guardian to take the boy out of the Mbiama community for his safety. Our advocate inquired from the traditional ruler if some mental or emotional issues could have made the boy confess. But he said the boy was so sure about what he was saying. He ruled out the suspicion that the boy might have some mental health issues. The boy’s whereabouts are known. It is assumed that he was taken to Calabar. The AfAW commends the traditional ruler of Mbiama for ensuring the safety of this child. This boy is not a witch but a victim of a broken child care system. His confessions are likely rooted in trauma, abuse or other psychological and mental health challenges. The AfAW will try and confirm the fate of the boy in the coming days and weeks. This boy needs to undergo a proper medical check-up.