According to the Nigerian Tribune, a father has been arrested for padlocking his four-year-old son’s mouth shut to prevent him from screaming as he was beaten to death.
This incident took place in the Meiran area of Lagos after a security guard, Chris Elvis, 30, accused his son, Godrich, of being an “Ogbanje” or “devil child” and blamed him for his recent misfortunes in life.
Court documents report that the young boy was burned all over his body with a scorching hot iron and then locked in a plastic drum, only to later be found dead by his mother when she arrived home from the market.
When police arrived on the scene and arrested Elvis, he pretended to act mentally ill, but authorities determined his psychological state was normal.
Most of the time, horrific crimes like this are carried out with impunity because perpetrators are never punished. But Elvis has been charged with murder and is currently being held in custody.
His charge sheet reads as follows:
That you, Chris Elvis, on February 10, 2014, about 5pm at 7, Adetola Adelaja street, Meiran Lagos, in the Lagos Magisterial District, did unlawfully kill one Godrich Elvis, aged four years by using hot pressing iron to burn him all over his body and putting him inside a plastic drum and locked the drum with padlock and thereby committed an offence punishable under Section 221 of the Criminal Law of Lagos State, Nigeria, 2011.
It’s not uncommon in Nigeria for leaders to claim that children are possessed in some ways by the devil, and they are often blamed for various local catastrophes. According to the UK-based charity Stepping Stones, in some parts of the country, children accused of witchcraft have been burned alive, poisoned to death, and even bathed in acid.
“When a child is accused of being a witch — that child is hated absolutely by everybody surrounding him so such children are sent out of the home… But unfortunately such children do not always live long. A lot of them, they’re either killed, abandoned by the parents, tortured in the church or trafficked out of the city,” said Sam Ikpe-Itauma, organizer for the Child’s Rights & Rehabilitation Network.
The news of the young boy’s violent murder comes after countless students were killed in an attack on a college in Nigeria’s northeast by Islamic militants.