A 13-year-old boy identified as Master Ifeanyi Umoke from Inikiri Benard village in Effium community, Ohaukwu Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, is battling for life after he was tied and thrown into a burning fire for allegedly stealing uncooked rice in the market.
Ifeanyi who is battling between life and death had severe burns over his body. It was gathered that the victim’s hands and legs were tied up by two men, Paul Amah and Paul Nweke of the same village and thrown into a burning fire.
The perpetrators after committing the crime, saw the critical condition of their victim, abandoned him to groan to death. According to eye witness, the perpetrators alleged that the victim was a notorious kleptomaniac.
It was also revealed that the mother of Master Ifeanyi is dead, while his father was bedridden due to chronic mental illness.
Speaking with journalists in Abakaliki, the chairman, Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE), Ebonyi State Mr Sampson Nweke condemned the act.
He said “Few days ago, the Human Rights Defenders (HURIDE) 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.
“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 HURIDE interviewed the perpetrators, they said; ‘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 off our hands and fell into the fire and got burnt beyond our expectation.”
However, when contacted the PPRO, Ebonyi State Police command ASP Loveth Odah said the Police has not been officially notified of the matter.