Two women, identified only as Amadi and Mama Esther have been arrested by the Lagos State Police Command for allegedly abusing a nine-year-old girl, Joy, in the FESTAC Town area of the state, PUNCH reports.
The report stated that Amadi allegedly poured a chemical on the victim, making her sustain injuries on different parts of the body. The suspects reportedly took the victim to a pedestrian bridge in the FESTAC area where she was made to beg for alms from passersby.
A passerby who observed the victim’s condition reported the case to the police and the women were arrested. The police later referred the case to the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), which transferred the victim to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP).
“The girl lived in Port Harcourt with her parents. But last year, her mother handed her over to Mama Esther after the latter promised to support the family by taking the girl to Lagos. She said the girl would continue her education when they get to Lagos.
However, when she brought her to Lagos, she decided to hand her over to Amadi, who she owed some money. The woman then decided to use her for begging.
The girl said she noticed that Amadi would make her sleep before pouring a substance suspected to be chemical on her body. By the time she woke up and scratched the spots after feeling some pains, they would become sore. The woman would then bandaged the place and take her out for begging.
She said whenever the injuries heal, she would make her sleep again and pour the chemical on her. The woman started with her bottoms and then her laps. She said such had happened about four different times,” a Social Worker told PUNCH
According to another source, Mama Esther confessed to the crime, adding that she received between N2,500 to N3,000 daily.
“The girl said although they lived in a slum in the Oyingbo area, the woman always took her to FESTAC to beg. She said there were other girls in the slum. She could not recall the exact place where her parents lived in Port Harcourt. She mentioned streets like Rumuokoro, Saint Jude and Rumola. She said she attended Saint Jude Academy and was in basic three before she was brought to Lagos. The girl explained that her younger sister, Eberechi, was with another family. However, the suspect had maintained that they lived under the bridge,” the source added.
Joseph Famakin, the NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Coordinator said: “The girl was brought to us last Friday and she is going through some psychological counseling and treatment. We are also investigating if there are other people involved in the crime. The two suspects are with the police.”
According to the Director of OPD, Salami Olubukola, “This is a despicable act and the height of man’s inhumanity to man which must be condemned by all. Lagos State will never condone child abuse and cruelty and we shall go to any length to protect our children from barbaric acts.”
Photo Credit: Samson Folarin/PUNCH