Humanist anti-witchcraft campaigner Leo Igwe beat “mercilessly” by police
It’s not the first time that Leo Igwe has been arrested or attacked, nor that the international humanist community has had to call on the state of Nigeria to protect the campaigner from malicious detention or harassment. According to Leo, arrested and detained again this week without access to a phone or a lawyer, the police seemed to know exactly who he was when they were beating him, but the authorities have since given conflicting reports of why he was arrested (“mistaken identity” and “fraud”).
Leo Igwe, an activist arrested last Tuesday in the ongoing onslaught against child rights activists by the Akwa Ibom State government, was released today by the Police who claimed it was a case of mistaken identity.
Confirming his freedom in a telephone chat with Saharareporters, Mr. Igwe described his incarceration as a nasty experience.
“It was a terrible encounter and it was premeditated going by the way they executed the plot to hold me accountable for “kidnapping;” my hands were tied behind me and they beat me mercilessly,” he said.
He stated further, “My head was swollen and I kept massaging it so that it does not become permanent; from Tuesday night to this morning I was kept incommunicado and had no contact with either my family or my lawyers.”
Continuing his account, he said, “During my interrogation I discovered that my case was worsened by the fact that I was an Anti Witchcraft advocate; they kept saying that I was a fraudster making money from the child witch phenomenon so it was funny for them to say that it was a case of mistaken identity.”
It will be recalled that Governor Akpabio had promised to make life uncomfortable for NGO’s working on children’s rights in the state when he ordered the arrest of Sam Ikpe-Itauma in a radio broadcast last year.
Also see: The Tireless, Courageous Humanism of Leo Igwe