After 25 young men and women from the Old-Netim Community in Cross River State were detained almost two months ago in connection with the alleged arson murder of an elderly woman by certain youth leaders, the community’s Traditional Council has pleaded with police authorities to free them.
Mrs. Martina Okey, the victim, was accused of being a witch responsible for the deaths of a few young people.
The governor, Bassey Otu, has issued a warrant for the arrest and prosecution of all individuals responsible for the brutal killing.
The Clan head and chairman of the council, H.R.H. Ntufam Augustine Nyong Orok, and the secretary, Ntufam Linus Pius Mbey, released a statement alleging that the police had arbitrarily detained and arrested dozens of young people in Old Netim Community.
They claimed the murder was not committed by all of the town’s teens.
The traditional council claims the murder was committed by young people who did not agree with them.
A subset of local youngsters opposed to the community’s progress carried out the deed in order to tarnish its reputation.
“We use this medium to appeal to the Assistant Inspector General of Police Zone 6, Calabar, and the State Commissioner of Police in Cross River command to release the youths in their custody and go after the real perpetrators of the act who are now at large,” the statement said in part.
They expressed regret that the incident and subsequent events had caused suffering to innocent people and their families.
Noting that Old Netim, a business centre in the Akamkpa Local administration Area, was formerly tranquil but has since become a ghost town, the royal fathers pledged to continue working with the state administration to ensure peace.