Child Witch: Bishop, 4 Others Arraigned

Uyo, Nigeria - Self-styled Bishop, Sunday Okon Williams, who allegedly killed 110 children in Akwa Ibom State, in an attempt to exorcise witchcraft from them, was yesterday arraigned before an Oron High Court, along with four others. They are facing torture and murder charges.

Williams, founder of a spiritual healing home at Ibaka, Mbo Local Government area, was arrested November last year, following a documentary: Saving Africa’s Witch Children,” broadcast by the United Kingdom (UK) Channel 4 station on November 12, 2008.

In the documentary, the accused, during an interview, allegedly admitted killing more than 110 children in Akwa Ibom State, as he claimed to possess the power to exorcise witchcraft spirits from children.

Embarrassed by the documentary, the state government, in conjunction with security operatives, moved swiftly to arrest and charged them to Court.

Although the accused persons pleaded not guilty when the charges were read out to them, the Presiding Judge, Justice Archibong Archibong, ordered that they be remanded at the Eket Prison.

The other accused persons include Pastor Samuel Excellence, Udeme Okon William, Ezekiel Bassey Oforkudok and Akpe Alfred Akpe.

Justice Archibong maintained that the accused could not be granted bail because of the serious nature of the case. He indicated that such application or order for bail should be made more formal before the court

In an interview, Commissioner for Information and Social Re-orientation, Mr Aniekan Umanah, said the appearance of the accused in court was a practical demonstration of the government's determination to safeguard rights of children of Akwa Ibom State, as enshrined in the Child Rights Act 2008.

The suit number HOR/3C/2009, State vs Bishop Sunday Okon William and Four others, was adjourned till June 8, 2009, for continuation of hearing.