A ten-year-old boy was burnt alive in Ebonyi state after allegedly stole a ‘small measure’ of uncooked rice at Inikiri market.
Ifeanyi Umoke who hails from Inikiri Bernard village in Effium community, Ohaukwu LGA of Ebonyi State, though badly burnt, miraculously survived the roasting.
The boy, said to have lost his mother and is currently living with his father who is bedridden with a chronic mental illness, had his hands and legs tied up by two men (names withheld) of the same village before being thrown into a burning fire in a refuse dump at the market – abandoned to groan to death.
According to News Express, Ifeanyi’s relations were not forthcoming, thence, been living in hunger, together with his bedridden father.
Speaking to journalists Friday in Abakaliki, the state capital, the Chairman, Human Rights Defenders, Mr Samson Nweke, said: “We got a call from one George Etamesor of the HRCRC over the grave abuse on the poor child.
“This little boy is 10 years old. According to our feeders, his mother is no more and the father, bedridden with a chronic mental illness.
“Because he was caught trying to steal some rice in their village market, he was tied up and thrown into burning fire in a refuse dump in the market.”
Ifeanyi Umoke cheated death following the intervention of sympathizers who brought him out of the fire and rushed him to AMURT Hospital, Effium, but due to the severity of the damages, he was rejected.
However, Ifeanyi was later taken to Alex Ekwueme Federal Teaching Hospital Abakaliki (AE-FETHA2) through the efforts of sympathisers and is currently battling for life.
When contacted, the two men who roasted Ifeanyi defended their action, saying: “Ifeanyi has been in the habit of stealing cassava, yam and others. So this time, we caught him stealing rice we decided to teach him a lesson so that he will not come back to steal 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 fell into the fire and got burnt beyond our expectation.”
Ebonyi Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), DSP Loveth Odah, did not immediately respond to enquiries on the shocking incident.