It was double trouble for 12-year-old Amaka (not real name), a housemaid in the Shasha area of Lagos State, who was reportedly defiled by a neighbour policeman and tortured with hot water by her boss for failing to open up.
The woman, Amarachi Archaur, has been arrested by the police.
We learnt that Amaka, who hails from Enugu State, had been living with Archaur since she was four.
A yet-to-be identified woman had reportedly taken the girl to Archaur’s mother in the village and the suspect brought her to Lagos.
The girl fled home on August 9 with the injuries and ran to Baale Market, which is some distance away.
A market woman alerted a human right group, Esther Child Rights Foundation, and the case was reported at the Shasha Police Station.
A worker at the organisation, Mr Joseph Ekpo, told our correspondent that Amara suffered burns in the back, legs and hands.
He said, “We went for awareness on Friday, August 9 when a call came in from Baale Market that a girl was in distress. I went to rescue the child at the market and followed her to the woman’s house.
“When we got there, the woman refused to open the door. I then took the girl to Shasha Police Station and handed her over to the police. Policemen went back to the place and arrested the woman. The girl said she had been with her since she was four years.”
The Director of the foundation, Mrs Esther Ogwu, said her team followed up on the case at the Gender Unit of the Lagos State Police Command, but was told that another human rights group, Access to Justice, had taken over the matter.
The Director, Access to Justice, Queen Olusola, said the girl eventually opened up that she was defiled by her neighbour, a policeman, but she was afraid to tell her boss.
Olusola stated, “The woman denied pouring hot water on her. She said the water the girl boiled to bathe herself poured on the floor and that she slipped and fell on the hot water. But the girl said she was abused sexually when the woman sent her to buy something and that when she got home, the woman noticed bloodstains in her clothes and questioned her.
“The girl initially lied which angered the woman. She threatened to pour hot water on her if she did not tell the truth and made good her threat.
“When the girl got to our custody, we calmed her down and she opened up that it was a policeman that abused her. She said the policeman was around when the woman was threatening her and that she was afraid to speak up. She said the policeman raped her in a restaurant and his house. But when we invited the policeman, he denied.”
Olusola explained that the alleged defilement was a development on a case of assault earlier reported to the police, adding that the organisation would meet with the police on Monday for further investigation.
“The case is still ongoing. We requested to see the mother of the girl in the course of our investigation but we discovered that the girl did not have a background. The woman couldn’t give us the through picture of how she got the girl.
“She told us that a woman brought the girl to her mother. When we asked to speak with the girl’s mother, she said she did not have her mobile number any longer. She said the girl spoke to her mum last in December,” she added.
Ogwu enjoined parents to take full responsibility of their children rather than give them out to relations to prevent such a scenario.
“They should also make sure they give birth to children they can cater for. This way, sending children to relations can be reduced. People should be careful of how they treat children in their care because karma would catch up with them. The woman in question is pregnant, yet she maltreats someone’s child,” she added.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, had earlier confirmed the physical assault to our correspondent, adding that the suspect would be charged.
He said, “On August 14, around 4pm, a case of child abuse/assault occasioning harm was transferred from Shasha Police Station where one Josephine Ekpo attached to a human rights foundation reported that while they were on awareness, they rescued a child, 12, from the hand of her guardian, Mrs Amarachi Archaur, 36, who is fond of maltreating her.
“He complained further that the suspect maltreated the said Favour and poured hot water on her body and she sustained injuries all over her body. The case is still under investigation and the suspect will soon be charged.”
However, efforts to get his reaction to the defilement allegation on Friday proved abortive as calls to his line rang out. He had also yet to reply to a text message to his line as of press time.