Anger as mob beats retired lab scientist suffering dementia, strip her naked, accuse her of witchcraft


The Rivers State branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) has threatened to ensure the prosecution of those behind the beating and stripping naked of an elderly woman, Ann Sobrekon nee Eremie.

The elderly woman was beaten and stripped naked by some persons who accused her of being a witch in Okrika local government area last week.

The septuagenarian retired from the services of the University of Port Harcourt Teaching Hospital, UPTH after 35 years where she worked as a laboratory scientist.

The family members of Sobrekon nee Eremie had come out to say that she is not a witch, adding that the victim only has a mental problem (dementia).

One of her colleagues also said that she started having the medical condition during the last years of her service.

While condemning and describing the humiliation of the woman as a debasement of her dignity, FIDA also called on law enforcement agencies to immediately investigate and prosecute the perpetrators.

A statement signed by the state chairperson and secretary of FIDA, Adata Bio-Briggs and Ini Irene Pepple was quoted as saying that: “We raise our voices against the debasement and indignity meted on Madam Ann Sobrekon nee Eremie, a mother, grandmother and sister who was beaten, stripped naked with videos made and circulated through social media alleging her to be a witch.

“The fundamental human rights as contained in Chapter IV of the 1999 Constitution, particularly Section 34 provides for the right to personal dignity and frowns at the infringement of that right in any form or kind.

“Prior to making this release, we have been in touch with the family of Madam Ann Sobrekon née Eremie who had confirmed that she has issues of dementia which is a medical condition.

“It is sad that she was made to go through that inhuman and barbaric act instead of being shielded.

“As citizens, we must learn to respect the elderly and offer them care, not pain and also educate ourselves so we do not run foul of the law.

“Madam Ann Sobrekon née Eremie and her family have been severely traumatized due to this emotional and psychological abuse.

“Be that as it may, we hereby call on law enforcement officers to investigate, fish out and prosecute the perpetrators of the inane act who were particularly featured in the live video making the rounds on the Internet.”