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Woman, 98, beaten, dragged on ground over witchcraft allegation in Delta

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A 98-year-old woman, identified as Magarret Okpole, has been hospitalised after she was allegedly flogged by her kinsmen over witchcraft accusations in Otor-Iyede, Delta State.

Okpole, who is said to be in critical condition at the hospital, was reportedly brutalised over the allegations on Friday, March 19.

The nonagenarian’s daughter, Mrs Alice Jete, disclosed that her mother was not a witch. She added that she was falsely accused, clubbed and dragged on the ground into a room to be burnt to death.

The command’s spokesperson, DSP Bright Edafe, on Saturday, said that the command swung into action following a petition from Jete.

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In her petition, Jete called on Human Rights organizations and the Nigerian Police to bring the perpetrators to book. She said she received a call on the evening of the incident that her mother had been beaten to stupor over allegations of witchcraft and rushed to the village alongside her 20-year-old son.

“My son and I got to the village around 10 in the night. We took her to the hospital that night. It was my 20-year-old son that carried her,” she said in a The Nation report.

“They beat her to the extent that up till now she cannot tell where she is. When I ask her ‘Mama, where are you?’ she would say, ‘I don’t know. It’s like it (the maltreatment) affected her mentally.”

The incident was said to have been masterminded by a relative, Wada Okpole. Other suspects include Sunday Pada, Jerry Okpole, Emonana Okpole, Egbe Aluya, Oghenemaro, among others, all said to be natives of Otor-Iyede.

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A video of the incident saw old Okpole and another woman said to be her married mate seated on the sandy floor, pleading for their lives.

They were flogged repeatedly with plantain stems by at least four men, after which both were forcefully dragged on the ground into a room where they were locked.

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A voice could be heard saying,

“These are the witches of Otor-Iyede. They can kill their children for anything…”

Another asked if they (women) had released the person they planned to kill in their coven.

It (voice) promptly shouted that they (women) agreed the person had been released when ‘Oga Wada’ appeared on the scene, in a seeming attempt to strike the women.

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