The Lagos State Command of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons has commenced investigation into the alleged torture of a 14-year-old boy, Segun Kushadi, by his aunt.
The woman, who is identified simply as Mrs Olofinlade, reportedly scalded Kushadi’s shoulder with hot water for using a bad pot to heat the water.
The victim lived with Olofinlade on Aderele Street, Egbeda, Lagos.
City Round gathered that the woman had subjected the boy to abuse since he was brought from Ogun State by his father to live with her.
It was said that a good Samaritan saw Segun on the street with the burn and prodded him on the cause.
The resident was said to have reported the case to a human rights organisation in the state after the boy revealed his ordeal to him.
A source told City Round that the woman was arrested by the police, but was released on the same day.
He said, “The boy has been living with Mrs Olofinlade for about one year now. Since then, she has been maltreating him over any slight provocation. On April 25, 2019, she asked him to boil water in the morning which he did.
“Due to the fact that they didn’t have a kettle, he asked her which pot he should use and she told him to use any pot. When the water had boiled, she asked him to bring it. On seeing the water, she flared up, asking him why he used a certain pot. The boy kept quiet, and the next thing, she carried the pot and tossed the hot water over his body.
“With the assistance of the human rights group, she was arrested by the police. Unfortunately, they released her that very day and warned her not to beat the boy again.”
The source added that earlier on the day of the incident, Olofinlade had beaten Segun while he was washing clothes.
However, Olofinlade while speaking to our correspondent on the telephone on Thursday denied pouring hot water on her cousin.
She said one of the handles of the pot Segun used to heat the water had broken and the pot was leaking, adding that she had warned him not to use it.
She stated, “Segun is like a son to me. He is not an outsider. He poured the hot water on himself. If anybody tells you that I poured the water on him, the person is my enemy. The pot that I warned him not to use was the one he used. One of the handles of the pot is broken. I warned him not to use it because the pot is also leaking.
“The pot fell from his hand. Why would I collect the pot and pour the water on him? The pot is still at the police station. There is a man in our area, who is my enemy. He is the one spreading the false information that I poured hot water on the boy.”
The father of the victim, Mr Simoni Kushadi, said he brought Segun from their home town in Ijoun, Ogun State, last year after he finished his primary school education.
Simoni, a farmer and father of five, said he relocated Segun to Lagos because he did not have the means to send him to secondary school.
He stated, “After he finished his primary school education, their mother divorced me. I didn’t have the means to take care of him and his siblings. That was why I brought him to Mrs Olofinlade. Segun’s elder brother, who is the eldest child, is living with a doctor.
“The three other children are living with me. I have advised that the case should be settled since the day I learnt about it. This woman is helping me to send him to school. Even if he sustains any injury, she is the one that will treat him.”
Our correspondent gathered that after the police released the woman, a rights activist reported the case to NAPTIP and the woman was re-arrested.
NAPTIP Commander in Lagos, Mr Daniel Atokolo, said Segun had been taken into protective custody where the burn he suffered was being treated.
He said, “The woman was arrested and the boy is undergoing treatment at a shelter. She is presently on bail but she is expected to be reporting in our office daily until we finish investigation.
“However, the boy is not returning to her. His parents have been invited. They will be sensitised first before he is reunited to them so that they won’t send him out again.”
The Director of Esther Child Rights Foundation, which is following the case, Mrs Esther Ogwu, berated the police for “the poor handling” of the case.
She urged NAPTIP to ensure justice was served and advised parents against sending out their children to live with relatives.
She said, “I am happy that the child was rescued by NAPTIP, which is the most important thing. NAPTIP should make sure the woman faces the consequences required because her conduct is indirectly an attempted murder.
“I was surprised when I learnt that the woman had been released from police custody, and the boy was released to her. Afonka Police Station didn’t do their job on this case.
“My advice to parents is that they should give birth to children they can take care of. They should not be sending out their children to live with people. They should take proper care of their kids.”
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