By Esther Onyegbula
Lagos—Doctors at a private hospital at Ire-Akari Estate in Isolo area of Lagos State are battling to save the life of a malnourished seven-year-old primary school pupil, who slumped and lost consciousness in school.
The victim, identified as Ifechukwu Jubilee, also had visible marks of violence all over her body.
She was reportedly sent to school last Friday by her guardian, identified as Ngozi, on an empty stomach.
Her guardian, according to neighbours at their 19 Owofuju Street, allegedly beat the girl, her niece, at the slightest provocation.
Neighbours also told Vanguard that the act usually led to arguments between her and her husband, who often frowned at his wife’s maltreatment of the girl.
… on Friday morning
She was woken up from sleep last Friday morning and asked to carry out home chores before leaving for school.
Ifechukwu was said to have strayed into one of the rooms in the apartment and slept off, which angered her aunt who then beat her and sent her to school without food.
Ifechukwu, a primary 2 pupil, reportedly left home in tears, only to slump hours after getting to school— Ire-Akari Model Primary School.
One of the teachers, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said: “She looked very pale and weak when she came to school, with her hands swollen and injuries in some parts of her body.
“It was when she fainted that we knew something was wrong. When she came out of coma, her first words were that she was hungry and narrated how her aunt usually beat her with a hard object.
“We thank God she did not die in the school. How would we have been able to explain that kind of situation?”
Her husband visited her at the station and told her not to set her feet in his house again.
He told Vanguard: “Only God knows what I am going through in my wife’s hands. I have cautioned her several times over the manner she beats the little girl. This is the last straw.”
Meanwhile, a non-governmental organization, Women Right and Health Project, has promised to follow up the investigation and ensure the victim was safe.
Weeping profusely, the suspect, a 25-year-old mother of one, begged for mercy, saying she acted out of anger, as she had been taking good care of the girl.
She was released because she is pregnant.