The name of this nine-year-old girl is Favour. But life seemed not to have treated her according to her name. Rather, it has given her an unpalatable dish she would live the rest of her life pondering over, except she gets help from a psychologist fast.
From her facial expression to her frail body, it was glaring that all was not well with this girl. A closer look at her revealed conspicuous marks of canes all over her body. In fact , one could hardly find a smooth space on her back. Coupled with this was a blood -shot eye. The injuries were allegedly inflicted on her by no other than her madam, one Alhaja Amina Ukegbu, who she served as a house-help.
The first incident that signaled this innocent girl’s unpleasant journey in life began when she was three years-old, after her mother walked out on her father, leaving behind three children.
Unable to meet up with her upkeep, the little girl found herself in the home of her madam last year. But unknown to her , it was just the beginning of her traumatic experience.
Aside receiving severe beatings, allegedly from her madam and members of her household on a daily basis, it was also discovered that she was allegedly raped daily by two grown up men in the house.
The bubble burst last week after her aunt simply identified as Chioma visited, only to behold Favour in the shadow of herself, with marks all over her body.
Her aggrieved father was said to have contacted the Police, where the girl revealed how she was made to sleep on the balcony, from where two grown up men had canal knowledge of her on a daily basis, with a threat to deal with her if she told anyone.
Narrating how Favour found her self in her madam’s Festac home, Chioma said, “ Her mother left when she was three. My mother took custody of her and her two other siblings but when she could not take care of them, I had to take Favour. But because of financial constraints, I could not cope at a point because I have my own children.
Then one of my friends, Ebere said she wanted to take Favour in November last year and I agreed. I never knew she had given her out to Alhaja Amina until recently and when I asked who the person was, she said the person was rich. I was glad because I concluded that at least, she would be able to go to school.”
Asked where Favour’s father was all the while, Chioma kept quiet and responded (in a low tone) that he neglected the children. Also asked if she was receiving any money from the said Alhaja, she responded in the negative. Asked again if she ever bothered to check on her niece while in Alhajia’s place, she revealed that she visited there last week but did not see neither the madam nor Favour.
Continuing, she stated, “Last Monday, I received a call from Hajia, saying I should come and take Favour away before she would kill her. When I got there, I saw Favour with blood -stained eyes but I was told Hajia had travelled out of the country.
When I asked what was wrong with Favour, she lied that she had a domestic accident but Hajia’s son told me one Aunty Oluchi beat Favour and was demonstrating how she was beaten. When I asked why, he said it was because she ate gala. While waiting, thinking Hajia would come, she called someone on the phone and instructed that Favour’s property be given to her in order for her to leave. When I left there with Favour, I did not see any mark on her. It was her father that discovered the marks and called the Police.”
Crime Alert reliably gathered that attempts were made to thwart the case at the police division. There were also reported threats on the policemen to drop the case. At this point, a Non Governmental Organization, Rhode Haven, was contacted, from where the little girl sang her pathetic tale.
According to the organization’s project co-coordinator, Maria Jones, “she claimed she was raped on a daily basis by two men . She said they usually carried her from the balcony on the ground floor of the duplex which she was sleeping, while every other person had gone to bed.
They would take her to their room and have canal knowledge of her. This continued without the knowledge of Alhaja because she said Hajia was always travelling.
“If you look at her properly, you will notice that her left finger has disappeared and also, she has burns on her hand.
When we asked her, she said she was asked by one of Alhaja’s relatives to boil water and when she was going to check, it poured on her. She gave the names of the boys who usually had carnal knowledge of her as Aboy and Japan.
The most pathetic aspect of it is that the girl claims she was never enrolled in any school. She told us that the last beating she received from her guardian’s relatives was because she was hungry and ate gala without their permission. She said she was usually given food only in the morning and afternoon.”
On further check , Jones stated that the girl’s underwear was blood stained. She was thereafter taken to the Lagos State University Teaching Hospital, Ikeja, from where the result which was made available to Crime Alert, confirmed that the little girl’s hymen had been tampered with.
Speaking with Crime Alert on the development, the National Human Rights Commission Zonal Coordinator, South west, Mrs Mausi Segun, informed that the little girl would be taken from the NGO soon. According to her, “ we are interested in the child.
We are going to file a civil suite against those that raped her. Somebody has to answer to the question of the rape.”
Meanwhile, Crime Alert investigation revealed that those suspected to have raped the little girl were initially arrested and detained at Zone 2, Onikan, Lagos but were later released on the orders of a top ranking police officer accused of trying to sweep the case under the carpet. There were also reported threats on the little girls’ aunt’s life, as she was accused of blowing the case out of proportion.
All these accusations, according to Segun, would be looked into. “We first deal with that of the AIG’s office here and if he is not doing what he is supposed to do, we will take it to the IG’s office”, she stated.
-By Evelyn Usman
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