The Police in Lagos state have arrested two women for serially abusing a nine-year-old girl, Joy Esemonu by pouring chemicals on her and using her to beg for alms. The women, identified as Amadi and Mama Esther were arrested after an observer reported the case to the police.
According to Punch, Joy is a relative to Mama Esther. Mama Esther brought her from the village in Port Harcourt with a promise of taking her to school, instead, Mama Esther poured chemicals on Joy to cause injuries, thereafter takes her to beg for alms.
The case was transferred to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters. The social worker involved in the case said Joy’s mother handed her to Mama Esther to help with her education. He said, “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 source revealed that during interrogation, Mama Esther confessed to collecting between N2,500 to N3,000 as her share every day, saying “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, Ebierechi, was with another family. However, the suspect had maintained that they lived under the bridge,” he added.
The Director of OPD, Mrs. Salami Olubukola, condemned the action of the women, saying the state would ensure that justice was served.
She said, “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.”
Meanwhile the police have launched an investigation into the case and Joy is in custody of NAPTIP, Lagos. The NAPTIP coordinator, Mr Joseph Famakin 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.”