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HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, NAWOJ, TAKE OVER CASE OF TWO CHILDREN SET ABLAZE BY PLATEAU COMMUNITY

HUMAN RIGHTS COMMISSION, NAWOJ, TAKE OVER CASE OF TWO CHILDREN SET ABLAZE BY PLATEAU COMMUNITY

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The National Human Rights Commission, NHRC, and Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ, have waded into the case of two minors set ablaze by some elders of Waduruk village in Plateau State after they were accused of being witches and responsible for the lack of development in the 100-year-old Plateau State community.
Two children were identified as five-year-old Mary Gyang and 11-year-old Godgift Nyam.
Mrs. Kachollom Tachio, principal Legal Officer of NHRC, said: “We have taken up the issue and we will ensure that justice is done. We don’t tolerate such rights abuses. These children have their rights to life.
“They are minors. They were not even given the opportunity to defend themselves. This is wickedness.”
“Yes, it is very true that two minors were being burnt alive by the villagers. We went to the village to conduct investigation and we found out that it was even the father of one of the victims who brought the minors and handed them over to the villagers for execution.
“They were taken to another compound within the community to be killed because they said they found them to be evil.
“Some elders in the village recommended that the children be set ablaze in full public glare to serve as a deterrent to other witches and wizards in the village. So, one of the villagers volunteered some petrol from the tank of his motorcycle. They collected the fuel, tied the two children together and set them on fire after pouring fuel on them.
“When the mother of Godsgift heard that her son was being burnt, she rushed to the scene to rescue them. After rescuing them, she rushed them to the hospital where they were admitted immediately.
“A family member named Rita Nyam drew the attention of the National Human Rights Commission to the incident. Our investigation so far confirmed that the incident was real.’’
Also, the Plateau State chapter of Nigeria Association of Women Journalists, NAWOJ,has taken up the fight against the injustice meted out to the minors. The body said it had got the report and promised that the body would join the NHRC to get justice for the victims.
Mrs. Jennifer Yarima, chairperson of NAWOJ, said: “NAWOJ in the state has been serving as the voice of the voiceless. We will mobilise our members to fight this cause.
“It is just by the grace of God that the two minors are alive. They were not going to see Christmas and New Year because they were condemned to death by the community.
“When I rushed to the hospital to see the children, I could not hold back tears. I cannot imagine that the world can be this wicked.
“I need to commend the hospital for giving the children prompt medical attention, because the children will likely to lose their sights if the burns are not professionally handled.
“But I am happy that in spite of the severe burns on their faces, their eyes were intact. But they could not see for a week as their faces were completely bandaged.”
Mrs Pam decried the rising cases of human rights abuse in the state. “The case of human rights abuse on the Plateau is on the increase. The issue of child right abuse is especially is very rampant. The same goes for rape of minors, sexual molestations, wife battery and so on,’’ she said.
“In 2019, alone we handled about 500 cases of rights abuse. The security agencies should do more by being vigilant, using their intelligence network to bring culprits to justice.
“Only by doing so can we reduce the rising rate of rights abuse in the state.”
The Plateau State Police Command said it arrested more than 3,000 suspected criminals and got most of them convicted while some were still under trial in various courts.
The command said majority of the more than 3,000 cases were about rights abuse like rape, assaults, and so on. The command said it recorded about 80 cases of rape and more than 70 of the offenders were convicted.

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About Demola Abimboye