By Evelyn Usman
A 35-year-old trader has been arrested for allegedly placing hot pressing iron on her 12-year-old houseboy, for taking her soft drink in Bariga area of Lagos.
The victim, Friday Obi, who had a cut on his forehead and burns on his left shoulder, also have scars all over his body.
Vanguard gathered that Obi, a Primary 5 pupil of Pedro Primary School, was brought from Imo State to live with the trader, Sarah Eteigbe, four years ago in her one-room apartment at 17 Mutairu Street, Pedro, Bariga.
Barely had he settled than Sarah allegedly started beating him. Sarah’s landlord and teachers at Friday’s school were said to have cautioned her against inflicting injuries on the boy whenever she beats him.
The beating came to a head last Friday, after teachers noticed bloodstains on his uniform. Upon enquiry, he disclosed that his aunty burnt him with hot pressing iron.
The Local Government Education Authority at Shomolu Local Government contacted Coordinator of the Child Protection Network, Mr. Toyin Okanlanwon, who subsequently reported the matter to the Police at Pedro Police Station.
During interrogation, Sarah claimed Obi was very playful and stubborn, saying “I have warned him several times to stay in the house and not to go out and play with other children.”
Asked why she burnt him with hot pressing iron, she simply said: “Because he drank a bottle of seven-up without my permission.”
One of Obi’s school teachers, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, admitted that Obi was playful but added that he was also intelligent.
Obi states his case
Describing his ordeal in the hands of Sarah, whom he called aunty, Obi said: “She always beats me at the slightest opportunity. There was a time she cut me with a razor blade.
“On this day in question, I returned from school late and by the time I got home, there was no food. I had to drink the 7-Up because I was hungry. I do not know why my aunty is wicked towards me.”
When news of Sarah’s arrest filtered in, residents described it as a welcome development to checkmate her high-handedness.
One of them, who simply gave her name as Bimbo, said: “We have been begging her to take the boy back to his parents.
“In her bid to disallow other children from playing with Obi, Sarah used six inches nails on her door net, leaving the sharp edges bare, so that it will pierce any child that comes close.”
Also speaking with Vanguard, Coordinator of CPN, Okanlawon, described the physical abuse on the boy as wicked.
He said: “When we got the information through the Local Government Education Authority, we swung into action by visiting the perpetrator’s house and making sure that she was arrested.
“CPN Shomolu and the Ministry of Youths and Social Development social worker, Shomolu, intervened in the matter and it was agreed that the boy should be placed in a shelter, as a result of the injury inflicted on him by his guardian.
“The Divisional Police Officer charged Sarah to court. She was granted N200,000 bail with four sureties in like sum.
“She was remanded at the Ikoyi Female Prison, pending when she would meet the bail conditions, while the case was adjourned till December 3.”