From Sola Ojo, Kaduna
A Kaduna Magistrates’ Court has adjourned to September 6 hearing of the case of a 13-year-old housemaid, Janet Audu, who was defaced with hot water by her caregivers.
Two months ago, the young Janet, while busy doing other house chores had allegedly burnt her mistress’ soup, which angered her 14-year-old son who poured hot water on the maid, leading to serious bodily injuries on the girl.
Both son, Yusuf Marcus (first respondent and a minor) and mother, Luthsi (second respondent), had been earlier granted bail after they pleaded not guilty to three-count charges level against them.
The three-count charges are cruelty to a person causing bodily harm without provocation and abatement of the offender as captured in sections 207, 221 and 54 of the Penal Code of Kaduna State.
Magistrate Benjamin Hassan, after hearing the police, adjourned the case to September 8 for a hearing to enable the authorities to complete their investigation on the matter.
The police had on August 2 told the court that they were almost concluding their investigation on the matter leading to the adjournment to August 19.
The representative of the Human Rights Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barnawa Branch, Barr Bukola Ajao, told reporters outside the court chambers that the police prosecuting team sought more time to enable them to talk to Janet Audu before they can proceed.
According to Ajao, ‘the matter came up today, August 19, for hearing. But just like the last adjournment, the prosecutors asked for another date again today on the premise that they have not seen the survivor enable them to interview her so that she can be heard in court.
‘It was on that basis that the matter was adjourned. However, in between that request, we were made to understand that NAPTIP is also in the matter and that NAPTIP invited the defendants and her guardian to Kano.
‘We also learnt that NAPTIP has released the girl to the Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development and that is where we are now. The matter was then adjourned to September 8 for hearing,’ she said.