Two women, Mercy Friday and Tani Diwu have been apprehended in Nasarawa state by the Nigeria police for attempted culpable homicide. The two women who are currently at the State’s criminal investigation department are alleged to have taken a thirteen-year-old boy, Ovey Friday who is their stepson and grand son to a herbalist over accusation of witchcraft. The women also accused Friday of making love to his stepmother in her dreams. Narrating the incident to Channels Television, Ovey Friday said, “She said that I am sleeping with her in the dream that is why she took me to the babalawo (herbalist), then the babalawo carried a stone, the stone was shining then he rubbed it on my hands and tied them. “He then brought fire, and he put pepper, then he come carry one wrapper come cover me, then he said I should put my hand near the fire, then the fire come die, he still bring another fire again three times. The I pray, I pray, then the babalawo come leave for one minute then he come loose, then he come give me one medicine, I drink then him say e Don finish him work” Ovey was said to have been abandoned after the incident for over a week, before his maternal siblings rushed him to the Dalhatu Araf Specialist hospital in Lafia, the Nasararwa State capital. The severity of Ovey’s predicament Ovey’s managing consultant, Doctor Edego Egba, who doubles as Chairman, Medical advisory committee of the hospital revealed that the severity of the burn may affect the usefulness of his hands and pointed plastic surgery as the last resort. “He had 12 percent full thickness degree burns and the functionability of the hands will depend on how we finish because since it is a deep burn affecting both hands, it is usually very difficult for us to treat the patient to return to the normal because no matter how you do it, the patient may have complications” A future almost destroyed Wulko in Endehu district of Nasarawa Eggon local government area, Nasarawa state is Ovey’s community. It is a settlement of peasant farmers, during our visit to the community, some residents were reluctant to share their views on the alleged continuous maltreatment and battering of Ovey before this incident since he moved in with his stepmother in September. A two bedroom apartment standing alone at the outskirts of Wulko was Ovey’s residence where he was leaving alone with his stepmother while his father was away making ends meet as a commercial motorcyclist in Lagos State. Ovey is a junior secondary school three pupil at the Government secondary school in Wulko, he served as the class captain of twenty three pupils before the incident. Despite having being established since 1982, the school environment is not a befitting one. Cracked walls, broken rooftops, patched floors among other deficiencies characterized the school with teachers spotted using tree shades as offices as no provisions had been made for them. However, the pupils are grateful they have a place to learn. We step into Ovey’s class and met the students preparing for their pre-qualification examinations to senior secondary level, an exam which Ovey is likely not going to be a part of. Nje Alanana, the Principal of the school, Magga Ayaka, Ovey’s Form Master,Oklo Cornelius, Ovey’s Best Friend spoke to Channels Television regarding the brilliant lad’s plight. “This boy is a boy that performs very well, very intelligent student for that matter in fact we have missed this boy, his absence has created a lot of vacuum because I don’t think we can get anybody to replace him,” the principal said. On his part, the form master said, “We feel bad and it’s paining us because he was very active. For now,we are missing him, the role that he was playing in the class and even in the fellowship is vacant. We are feeling it very badly and we pray that this type of thing will not occur again to any of our students.” His best friend Cornelius prayed for his return, saying he misses the moments they had. “I have to be praying for God to save him from his condition. Me and him we used play together, we used to ask ourselves questions, we used to go to church together, the way he is not around I am not feeling good because I don’t see his face again.” A call for justice Abdullahi Ubandoma, a legal practitioner in Lafia wants those who dealt unfairly with Ovey to be punished according to the law. Ubandoma says if the right penalty is accorded the crime against Ovey, then, it will serve as a deterrent to those who abuse children. The Nasarawa State police commissioner Bola Longe assured that a robust investigation will be carried out to ascertain what really happened and to bring those involved in the crime to book. “whether or not the child’s rights law is passed in the state, we have the penal code, we have the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria that has taken care of this kind of incident so I think the woman will be charged before a court of law and we will be expecting results at least so that next time we wouldn’t have this kind of scenario happening in the state again”,Ubandoma said. “I have ordered that the stepmother and other person’s that were involved in the whole episode should be rearrested for thorough investigation and I have ordered that the matter should be transferred to the state criminal investigation and intelligence department for professional and exhaustive investigation so that such a maltreatment will not reoccur in that family again,Longe said. The state acting coordinator of child protection network, Jerry Danjuma noted that a number of communities are ignorant of the provisions of the child’s rights law and suggested a robust sensitization. “We still have a lot of work to do in our communities for people to know that this is a bad behaviour. Once you Commit a crime, it’s a crime against the state so the law should take its course” In search of spiritual solutions Ovey’s paternal grandmother, Tani Diwu disclosed that she had declined the decision of taking him to a herbalist and rather suggested that he should be taken to a church. In her words, “I informed his father of a church at Akwanga where I had taken one of my son’s. This boy lived with me after the demise of his mother and I am not aware of anything of such but if you insist he is possessed we should take him to that church”. Mercy Friday, Ovey’s stepmother who is eight months pregnant, claimed that her husband was the one who sent her money to tackle the issue of the alleged witch craft and insisted the act didn’t happen in her presence. She said, “His grandmother wanted to take him to Akwanga then his sister referred us to a man at Kwandere in Lafia. His father then directed us to go to the herbalist at Kwandere to confirm whether or not he is possessed, I had refused to go but he insisted. “When we took the boy there, the herbalist confirmed he is a cultist, I thought he will give a concoction to drink and vomit but he took him inside a another room and we were not there. We didn’t know what he did to him. When he came out, I asked the herbalist what has happened to Ovey’s hand and he replied that it is the work that he did, then I querried Ovey for not calling our attention.” Investigations still ongoing Mr Friday, Ovey’s Father is yet to return from Lagos State since the incident which took place on the 28th of October. We placed a call across to his mobile phone, he hung up immediately he was confronted with the matter and later switched off his mobile device. The said herbalist who carried out the dehumanizing act on Ovey, is still at large, police say a manhunt has been initiated for his capture. Ovey’s stepmother and paternal grandmother are at the state criminal investigation and intelligence department in Lafia with investigations underway after which they will be charged to court.