Reverend Adebanjo and his wife, Mrs Olusola Adeleke, has been arrested by the police for allegedly burning the skin of their 9-year-old house help with a hot iron in the Oko-Oba area of Lagos State.
Punch reports that the couple were alleged to have subjected the little girl to series of physical abuse since she started living with them two years ago.
The girl’s travails came to the limelight when one of the Adelekes’ two dogs bit her in the chest while she was feeding them, and the couple refused to take her to the hospital for treatment.
This prompted a resident to report the matter to a child rights advocate, Mrs Toyin Taiwo-Ojo, who confronted the reverend about the little girl.
Taiwo-Ojo, a lawyer, said that she approached the reverend and he claimed that his wife was playing with the victim when the hot iron burned her skin.
However, according to the child rights advocate, apart from the dog bites, there were mark of iron, scars of lashes all over the girl’s body. She said:
“I asked him if the iron is a toy but he was speechless. The woman didn’t tell us what the girl did that warranted such inhumane treatment but the girl said she was punished for bedwetting.
“She said she is from Ajara (in Badagry). According to the girl, the couple lured her to their house two years ago through her mother’s friend. They told the mother that an elderly couple without a child needed somebody to keep their company and they promised to send her to school. That was why her mother released her to the couple
“We have been trying to reunite her with her family. She doesn’t know her surname; she only knows that her father was an Alhaji before he passed on. The suspects are pastors. They used horsewhips to beat the little girl who is about nine years old. There were scars all over her body from several previous beatings.”
We gathered that the state’s Ministry of Youth and Social Development were involved in the matter and the suspects were arrested on Thursday and transferred to the gender unit of the state police command headquarters in Ikeja.
The lawyer said the victim while narrating her experience stated that the couple gave her tough chores to do, including tendering to Adeleke’s aged mother. She said:
“The malnourished child said she had been staying with the couple for the past two years without going to school. Her daily chores include changing the diaper and cleaning of a 90-year-old grandmother, who also resides in the place. She also feeds the two Alsatian dogs in the house and takes care of their kennel.
“A scar by her breast was a dog bite she sustained four days earlier but the reverend and his wife did not deem it fit to take her to a hospital for anti-rabies and anti-tetanus injections.”
The child rights activist stated further that the girl was taken to a hospital for treatment where a preliminary report revealed that she had been sexually abused.
“A medical test has been carried out on her and the result will be out on Monday. The girl has not revealed who did the dastardly act to her because of the trauma she had gone through. We are still waiting for the outcome of the police investigation to know the perpetrator,” she added.
The Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Bala Elkana, confirmed the arrest of the couple. He said:
“Investigation on the case is ongoing and the suspects will be charged to court after the conclusion of investigation.”
Meanwhile, a woman identified as Ann Grace Aguti has married three husbands against her father’s approval, and he gathered his clansmen to chase his daughter’s husbands away from her home.
However, the three men said they have no problem with their marriage to Grace. They regard Grace as the head of the family, dine together during meals and obey her instructions, including observing the conjugal rights roster.