Chijioke Agwu, Abakaliki
A thirteen-year-old boy, Master Ifeanyi Umoke,from Inikiri Village in Effium community in Ohaukwu local government area of Ebonyi state, has been reportedly thrown into a burning fire by two men from the community for allegedly stealing some cups of rice at Inikiri market.
The victim, who miraculously survived the fire incident, was said to had been facing severe hunger and difficulty after he lost his mother.
It was gathered that his father who would have been assisting him was down with chronic mental illness .
Our correspondent gathered that the incident occurred on Tuesday during market hours.
It was further gathered that Ifeanyi relations had equally deserted him which made him to resort to begging and pilfering of food items for survival.
Sources at the community told our correspondent that the victim’s hands and legs were tied by the two men and thrown into a burning fire in a refuse dump at the back of the market to groan to death.
The source however said the victim survived the fire following interventions of sympathizers who brought him out of the fire and rushed him to a nearby hospital but he was rejected due to the severity of the damages.
He was later taken to the Alex Ekwueme University Teaching Hospital Abakaliki,where he is currently battling for survival.
Reacting to the incident, the Chairman Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE),Mr.Samson Nweke, condemned the actions of the two Effium men describing it as inhuman and actions against the law.
He vowed to pursue the matter to the logical conclusion and get justice for the victim.
According to him ‘’we got a call from Mr George Etamesor of the HRCRC over this grave abuse on this poor child. Because he was caught trying to steal some rice in their village market, he was tied up, thrown into burning fire in a refuse dump in the market and allowed to roast like a goat. The perpetrators, Mr Paul Ifere Amah and Mr Paul Nweke of the same village after committing this evil, saw the critical condition of their victim, yet they abandoned him to groan to death . It took the intervention of sympathizers to rush him to AMURT hospital there in Effium,but due to the severity of the damages, the roasted boy was declined treatment. Efforts were thereafter made to bring him to AE-FETHA2 where he is currently battling between life and death.
When contacted the suspects said the victim has been stealing things in the community and needed to be taught a lesson.
“Ifeanyi has been in the habit of stealing cassava, yam and others. So this time, we caught him stealing our rice and we decided to teach him a lesson so that he will not come back to steal our food again”.
“It was not our intention to burn his whole body. We only tied him up and after beating him, we tried to roast his toes in the fire, but because he was struggling, he slipped of our hands and fell into the fire and got burnt beyond our expectation”. They said.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) Ebonyi command, DSP Loveth Odah,when contacted said the matter had not been officially reported to the command.