From KEY SAMPSON, Aba
A businesswoman in Aba, Abia State, Mrs. Ngozi Okoye has her stars to thank for narrowly escaping being lynched over the disappearance of a mysterious cat, suspected to be a product of witchcraft.
Ironically, she was the victim of the cat that was initially found in her home and it took the intervention of journalists and policemen to save her from a mob action.
Narrating her ordeal, Mrs. Okoye said for long, she had observed that money she kept in a firmly locked cardboard in her room at No.1 Obu Street/Obohia Road in Aba was always missing mysteriously.
The woman, who sells fruits near the Aba Shopping Centre, said at a point, she suspected her children and kept a watch on them.
But when she realized that her children were innocent, she reasoned that what was happening to her had spiritual undertone and reported the matter to a man of God.
Mrs. Okoye said after observing some prayer points as directed by the pastor and the problem persisted, she contacted another man of God in her desperate bid to get the problem solved.
This time around, she was told to fast and pray for a given number of days along with the clergy man who would also pray for her over the issue.
The woman said after the fasting session, the problem stopped and on that day of the incident, she was taken aback when she wanted to collect some cash from inside the cardboard and touched a strange object.
When she opened the cardboard properly and pointed a torchlight towards the direction she kept the money, she saw a half dead pussy cat with some naira notes stuffed in its mouth.
Shocked at the strange creature, she raised the alarm and alerted the man of God whom she had met initially over the issue, just as people in the neighbourhood trooped to her house to catch a glimpse of the ‘witch’ pussy cat.
She said the man of God advised her to bring the now dead cat to him before it could be buried.
Confusion crept in as the now restive crowd wanted the cat to be burnt, but the woman insisted that she must take it to the man of God and put the cat in a bag and headed for the man of God’s house while the crowd, which caused traffic gridlock on the ever busy Asa/Ehi Road followed her, insisting that she must give them the cat to be burnt.
In the melee that followed, the cat was said to have disappeared and the crowd turned against the woman, accusing her of being the witch cat and was about lynching her when she ran into a shop close to a commercial bank at the shopping centre.
Despite the pleadings of policemen providing security at the bank, the crowd surged forward and the situation was saved when a group of journalists who came to the scene alerted the police.
The Divisional Police Officer (DPO) for Ndiegoro Division, Mr. Crescent Mama, sent his men to the scene, but the crowd which had blocked the entire road, could not let go. It took police re-enforcement for the woman who had been smuggled into the bank premises to be taken away after the crowd had been reasonably dispersed.
Bemoaning her fate, the woman vehemently denied the allegation and rained curses on whoever that turned into the cat that had been stealing her money mysteriously.
The police at Ndiegoro later released her after being kept in protective custody as investigations were ongoing into the matter.