Elena (Monalisa Chinda) and her husband, Tony, (Kalu Ikeagwu) whisk Itoro (Emem Udonquak) away from their neighbours Mr. and Mrs. Udofia (Keppy Ekpenyong and Uche Jombo) who maltreat her. However, things go awry when she begins to manifest devious spiritual powers.
For several years now, there have been reports of the maltreatment of children in Akwa Ibom State by their parents and close relatives, who accuse them of witchcraft. This is the story Moses Inwang (Torn, The Last 3 Digits, Damage) chooses to tell in Itoro Tears. Yet, it is shameful that Inwang’s point-of-view conforms to the opinions of the people who torture these children, sometimes burning the limbs or even killing them in the process.
The greatest demerit of Inwang’s film is that it ruined a rare chance to question an unseemly and unwholesome practice like the torture of minors or anyone else for any reason whatsoever.
How come children-witches and wizards are localized in the Akwa Ibom area? What gave rise to their existence? What activities, that constitute witchcraft, do they engage in? Does hurting them physically ‘exorcise’ the spirit of witchcraft? Or what insights do those residents of Akwa Ibom who discover child witches and wizards in their hundreds or thousands have that the rest of Nigeria, Africa and the world lack?
A few years ago, a reputable Nigerian preacher was seen in an online video, slapping a young girl who, according to reports, had been sent for deliverance by her caregivers; accusing her of being the witch who hindered their progress. One or two human rights lawyers vowed, at the time, to take the case up to the Supreme Court level if need be. What has become of the matter? Did they keep to their promise or rescind the decision? Was there an out-of-court settlement? The public needs to hear the last on that matter because the outcome will deter those who nurse the ambition of torturing and abusing children.
How can anyone verify that another person is into spiritual manipulation and even if the ‘accused’ affirms that he or she is diabolical like the girl who was slapped by the popular clergyman, what proof is there that the diabolical activities have any potency? Undoubtedly this, modern day stigmatization of children is not different from the killing of twins and such reprehensible practices of the past.
Itoro’s Tears is a film that should never have been made because it violates and abuses the fundamental human rights of children for nonsensical reasons. Itoro is severely beaten by her employers that any right-thinking person will be numbed. Inwang neglects the nagging issues in making a film of this nature to focus on witchcraft.
Who is the contact person between Itoro and her employers? Does Elena pay Itoro a salary and at what age can a young person legitimately start working and earning an income? Does Inwang not know that many little children are subjected to servitude by their employers, simply because they pay the children or the children’s families?
Inwang and all the actors (Kalu Ikeagwu, Monalisa Chinda, Uche Jombo, Keppy Ekpenyong, Yemi Blaq, etc.) who take part in this cock and bull story owe apologies to children, their fans, viewers and Nigerians.