In Nise town, Awka South Local Government Area of Anambra State, the government has successfully rescued a 17-year-old girl from her stepfather, who is accused of attempting to use her in a ritual.
The State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Hon Ify Obinabo, confirmed the incident in a statement issued on June 13, 2023. According to the statement from the Commissioner’s media aide, Miss Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, the suspect, Mr. Sunday Ezeh, who is a traditionalist, allegedly intended to perform a ritual involving the teenage girl.
The rescued girl underwent a successful surgery and is currently recovering at the pediatrics ward of Chukwuebuka Odumegwu Teaching Hospital, Amaku Awka.
Hon Obinabo, upon receiving information about the incident from Nise residents, collaborated with the local vigilante to apprehend the offender and subsequently handed him over to the police, considering the sensitivity of the case.
The statement emphasized that the administration led by Prof Chukwuma Soludo has a zero-tolerance policy towards any form of crime, and offenders will face severe consequences.
During her visit to the hospital, Hon Obinabo warned against harmful traditional practices targeting girls, children, and women, citing reports that Sunday Ezeh had allegedly planned to use his stepdaughter for a ritual.
The 17-year-old survivor, sharing her ordeal, revealed that she was bound and confined to a room without food for one month by her stepfather. She couldn’t recall her offense but was told that her punishment was due to soiling the compound with her feces. The survivor mentioned that her stepfather had struck her on the head with a bamboo plank, but she was rescued and brought to the hospital thanks to the intervention of others.
Sunday Ezeh, the accused stepfather, claimed that he had disciplined his disobedient daughter for defiling the compound with feces, which goes against his traditional beliefs and practices. Although he pleaded for forgiveness upon his arrest, he was handed over to the police.
The case has been transferred to the Anambra State Police Criminal Investigative Department and will be prosecuted in court.
The survivor sustained injuries throughout her body and required emergency surgery on her head.