I had a press briefing earlier today during which I passionately sought the support of all Nigerians with any vital information that can lead to the arrest of an Onitsha-Lawyer, Mrs Adachukwu Okafor who was alleged to have inflicted bodily harm on a minor (girl), Happiness Nwafor a child live-in maid by designing her legs and body with hot iron and a kitchen knife.
I am personally concerned about the health status of the 10 years old girl who is presently undergoing medical treatment in a hospital at Awka, Anambra State after the attack by her guardian.
I described the lady’s actions as unacceptable and unpardonable acts of child abuse, infliction of grievous bodily harm and inhuman treatment and reiterated the resolve of Ministry of Women Affairs under my watch to fight against all forms of abuse against the vulnerable children in the society.
I used the opportunity to place a N2 million reward for anybody with useful information that can lead to her arrest by the Police.
It’s even most disturbing to note that the lady who is presently at large after committing the heinous act, had boasted that nothing will happen since she is a Lawyer and we are engaging the President of the Nigeria Bar Association to look into this matter, thoroughly investigate and take appropriate actions against their member.
On the flip side, the Ministry is presently on a review and regulation of the procedure for taking in house maids in Nigeria especially in view of Section 28, 1 (d) of the Child Rights Act which prohibits the employment of a child under 18 years old as a domestic help outside his/her own home or family environment. We will work with the Federal Ministry of Justice on this matter to ensure that we protect vulnerable children from this manner of avoidable inhuman treatment. Mr. President does not wish for any Nigerian to suffer unnecessarily and i will drive this matter to a logical conclusion.
Meanwhile, I announced that the Ministry will provide some succor for the parents of the victim to earn a living that will change their economic status and discourage them from giving out any of their children as house helps.
According to media reports, little Miss Happiness was attacked by her guardian who used the hot-iron she was using to iron her children’s school uniform to stamp her face. When she jumped up crying for pains, the woman on sensing that her neighbours may be hearing her loud cry, tied her two hands up, pushed her into the toilet and locked her there.
With her repeated cries there in the toilet, her guardian came the second time to use the same hot iron and a kitchen knife in designing her legs and body. Speaking further, the little girl also stated that she was kept there for two days without any food or water. It was on the third day that her guardian on seeing her weak and dying, opened the door and bundled her into her car back and took her to her Aunt’s place, at Nkpor in Onitsha. This is totally unacceptable and we will definitely follow this matter up.
Uju Kennedy Ohanenye