On May 14, 2020, Pastor Okochi Obeni of God’s Descendants Assembly, Amasiri, in the Afikpo North Local Government Area of Ebonyi State, was tortured, brutalized, dragged to the Ogo Playground in the area and forced to drink water from a gutter by his tormentors, for criticising the council chairman, Mr. Ogbonnaya Oko Enyim in a post on the social media platform, Facebook. He was thereafter hospitalised at Alex Ekwueme Federal University Teaching Hospital in Abakaliki, the Ebonyi State capital.
According to Okochi, Mr. Amadi Julius Nyerere, a nominee of the chairman and a Technical Assistant to Ebonyi State Governor, David Umahi, called him saying the Essa age-grade chairman wanted to see him. He said when he got to the venue, he discovered that all the aides of the council chairman, Isi Oru age-grade members, and Essa age-grade chairman and his executives were all there.
He said when he saw the setup, he realized that there was a plan already on the ground that was being followed and that he was not called for a reconciliation meeting.
He said they tied his hands behind his back, forced him to drink gutter water and did all sorts of things to him, adding: “They put my body through all manner of inhuman treatments, aside from flogging me 36 times.”
Okochi said, tied hands and legs, his tormentors made him kneel down for over two and a half hours inside a gutter and noticed blood was no longer flowing through his veins anymore and his strength began failing him. At that point, he said he needed freedom, adding he lost consciousness twice.
He said he begged them to loosen the knot in the rope used to tie his hands together, adding after the incident, he could no longer make use of his hands including task as simple as holding his phones.
Under this terrible condition, he said his tormentors forced him to apologise which he did so that he can be set free.
He said the doctor who examined him discovered that most of his veins and nerves had been damaged because of the long hours that his hands were tied and the beating he received. The doctor has also warned that the health challenges his torture has caused him could become permanent if he didn’t treat them quickly adding it could lead to paralysis and was advised to be moved to the physiotherapy centre of the hospital.
The local government chairman reportedly told some journalists, community people, government officials and others, whom he invited to his house that torturing Okochi was in line with the tradition of Amasiri.