Punch gathered from a non-government organisation, the Humanist Association for Peace and Social Tolerance Advancement and its partner, Child’s Rights and Rehabilitation Network that the young boy was thrown into Imo River over witchcraft accusation.
Mr. Ayobami Ojedokun, Senior Project Manager of the organization, who revealed this on Tuesday in Uyo, said Okon survived and he is currently being taken care of by the groups.
Ojedokun, further hinted that Okon was living with his paternal aunt, whose name was given as Ekaeyen, at Etebi community in the Esit Eket Local Government Area of the state after he lost his parents.
The senior project manager said Okon was woken from sleep by Ekaeyen a few days ago, and taken to her husband, asking the boy to confess to being a wizard. But Okon denied the accusation even as his aunt threatened to throw him into a river.
Ojedokun, who expressed shock, said the aunt on November 16, 2014, took the boy to the Imo River and threw him into the water with the expectation that Okon would drown to death.
“She actually threw Okon into Imo River thinking that the boy would drown. The boy came out of the water alive and went to their home, only to be told that her auntie had relocated,” Ojedokun said.
Speaking also, Mr. Adeyemi Johnson, Project Director of the group further disclosed that HAPSTA/CRARN have reunited 16 children with their families from January to November, with two other children referred to the Ministry of Women Affairs.
Johnson said HAPSTA/CRARN had also rescued 17 children from January till date, while the organisation presently has 15 children in its centre.
“We also organise advocacy town hall meetings in Okobo, Ebughu and Etinan, where child witches stigmatisation are commonplace. We brought pastors and child rights activists together through a meeting at Ikot Abasi,” Johnson said.
When contacted, Mr. Iboro Victor, the state police command acting public relations officer denied knowledge of the incident saying;“the incident is not to my knowledge right now.”
It would be recalled that some weeks ago, there was tension at Cappa bus stop in Oshodi area of Lagos when a bird reportedly turned into a woman while on November 1, 2014, pictures of a burnt woman who allegedly turned from bird to human at Imulokanle street, Ishaga bus stop off Ebule Egba Ekoro road, Lagos.