By Felix Kuyinu
A case of child assault has been reported at Ejigbo Police Division over a 29 year-old woman who brutally tortured and inflicted injuries on her stepchildren simply identified as Vera and Favour who are ten and five years old respectively.
The accused, Chidinma Nnachi, at her residence on Aso Rock Street, Bucknor Estate, Ejigbo, reportedly beat up Vera, rubbed pepper on her eyes and burned her back with a hot knife because Vera, a primary four pupil of OlaOlu Montessori School, went to play after returning from school on February 7, 2018.
Besides, Nnachi was also said to have battered Favour on the forehead and inserted pepper in her eyes for allegedly soiling her body.
While the children were rescued and taken into protective custody by the Office of the Public Defender of the state Ministry of Justice, Nnachi was arrested by the police from the Ejigbo division.
According to reports, the children’s mother died in 2012 after she gave birth to Favour and since then, the duo had been put in the care of Nnachi.
Several maltreatment were said to have been endured by the children which were ignored by other close residents.
However, on the fateful day of the abuse, one of the neighbours simply identified as Olajide, who could not stomach the events, reported the case at the station leading to the arrest of the culprit.
According to Olajide, Nnachi had been maltreating the children for a long time and that Vera’s groans on that day prompted him to make a report.
Olajide disclosed that It was a neigbour who called his attention to the maltreatment of the children by their stepmother. He further revealed that he witnessed the torture of the girl (Vera) for about three hours on that day.
Due to his dissatisfaction over the incident, he informed the Chairman of the Community Development Association who advised that the incident should be reported to the police.
At the station, Vera said that when she returned from school with her sister, she went back to the school premises to play.
She narrated that when she returned home around 3.30pm, she met Nnachi, who beat her up with a stick for playing on the street.
She added that Nnachi put a knife in a burning liquefied petroleum gas (cooking gas) for some minutes and pressed it on her back.
“On Wednesday, February 7, after the school closed, I went back to the school compound to play and came back home around 3.30pm. When my stepmother returned from her shop in Isheri Osun, she asked me why I left home to play on the street. I told her that I was playing at the school compound, but she said I was lying,” remarked Vera.
She continued, “She started beating me. She put on the cooking gas and placed a knife on fire. She put pepper in my eyes and I could not see again. She then pressed the hot knife on my back. I cried and felt pains.
“The following day, my younger sister woke up in the morning with faeces on her body. She (Nnachi) beat her and put pepper in her eyes too. Our father had travelled when the incidents happened.”
The suspect, a mother of one, in her statement to the police, reportedly confessed to assaulting Vera, adding that she did not treat her injuries.
“Favour and Vera have been living with me since 2014 when I got married to their father. I was told their mother died in 2012 after Favour’s birth. On February 7 around 3pm, I came back from my shop in Isheri Osun and met only Favour and my two-year old child, Dominion, at home.
“I checked everywhere but did not see Vera. When she later came back, I asked her where she went to. She said she went to another street. As I wanted to beat her, she ran away. Her school proprietors brought her home. When the proprietress left, I put fresh pepper in her eyes and pressed a hot knife on her back several times. Vera was the one who took care of her sister and my son when I had gone to the shop.”
A police prosecutor, Sergeant Koti Aondohemba, brought the defendant before an Ogba Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday on five count charges bordering on assault which contravenes sections 10(b)(c)(d) of the Child Rights Law of Lagos State of Nigeria, 2015.
The charges read in part.
The defendant, however, pleaded not guilty to the charges and elected summary trial.
The presiding magistrate, Adedeji Ogbe, granted her bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum and adjourned the case till March 5, 2018.