Two women have been arrested for reportedly maiming a 9-year-old girl for life after they threw concentrated acid on her.
Two women identified as Amadi and Mama Esther, have been arrested for throwing acid on a 9-year-old girl identified as Joy Esemonu, leaving her with life damaging injuries.
According to Punch Metro, the incident which happened in Festac Town, Lagos, was reportedly perpetrated by the women, who used their victims to beg for alms on the pedestrian bridge, sharing whatever money they realised, between the two of them.
They were arrested after a good samaritan who noticed Joy's condition, alerted the police. They were referred to the Office of the Public Defender (OPD), who then transferred the matter to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters (NAPTIP).
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A social worker said Mama Esther was related to 9-year-old Joy, and had taken her from their village in Port Harcourt, Rivers state. She said:
“The girl lived in Port Harcourt with her parents. But last year, her mother handed her over to Mama Esther after the latter promised to support the family by taking the girl to Lagos. She said the girl would continue her education when they get to Lagos.
However, when she brought her to Lagos, she decided to hand her over to Amadi, who she owed some money. The woman then decided to use her for begging. The girl said she noticed that Amadi would make her sleep before pouring a substance suspected to be chemical on her body. By the time she woke up and scratched the spots after feeling some pains, they would become sore. The woman would then bandaged the place and take her out for begging.
She said whenever the injuries heal, she would make her sleep again and pour the chemical on her. The woman started with her bottoms and then her laps. She said such had happened about four different times.”
Another source said Mama Esther collected between N2,500-N3,000 from the money everyday. She said:
“The girl said although they lived in a slum in the Oyingbo area, the woman always took her to FESTAC to beg. She said there were other girls in the slum. She could not recall the exact place where her parents lived in Port Harcourt. She mentioned streets like Rumuokoro, Saint Jude and Rumola. She said she attended Saint Jude Academy and was in basic three before she was brought to Lagos. The girl explained that her younger sister, Ebierechi, was with another family. However, the suspect had maintained that they lived under the bridge.”
The OPD director, Mrs Salami Olubukola said the following while condemning their actions:
“This is a despicable act and the height of man’s inhumanity to man which must be condemned by all. Lagos State will never condone child abuse and cruelty and we shall go to any length to protect our children from barbaric acts.”
The Zonal coordinator of NAPTIP in Lagos, Mr Joseph Famakin, said:
“The girl was brought to us last Friday and she is going through some psychological counseling and treatment. We are also investigating if there are other people involved in the crime. The two suspects are with the police.”
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO), SP Dolapo Badmos, said, “Investigation reveals that it is their stock in trade.”
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