By Magnus eze
What happened recently in one of the rusty settlements in Kuje Area Council of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) showed that child rights activists still have much job to do.
The enforcement arm of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) had penultimate Saturday intervened in a case of gross abuse and violence against a less than two-year-old child in Kuje.
The culprit, Khadijat Yahaya, 30, had allegedly inflicted unimaginable physical and emotional pains on her step son (names withheld), by dipping the child’s hands in boiling water for attempting to eat some beans meal (moi moi) in the house.
She was also alleged to have left injuries on the poor boy’s penis and buttocks prompting neighbours to alert NAPTIP.
Daily Sun learnt that the agency’s Rapid Response Squad immediately swung into action, but Khadijat and her husband, Ayo Yahaya, 43, a motor mechanic near Zuba, went into hiding on getting wind that NAPTIP was af- ter them.
Luck, however, ran against them, in the early hours of December 23. The RRS, after laying siege to their neighbourhood, arrested the couple.
The child is Yahaya’s son from his first marriage that packed up about six months ago.
It was gathered that the boy had faced all manner of maltreatment including starvation since the father forcefully took him away from his bi- ological mother. In fact, the little boy was said to have been starved from morning till 2pm on the fateful day; prompting him to crawl to the kitchen where he saw some wraps of moi- moi and decided to help himself with one. No sooner he managed to open
it than the stepmother arrived and pummelled him.
Yahaya, who hails from Kogi State was rarely at home, as he would leave early in the morning to the workshop and return late in the night.
It was also gathered that the mechanic had divorced the victim’s mother barely six months ago and she left his house with the little boy until a few weeks ago, when Yahaya travelled home and snatched the little boy against her wish.
He brought the boy to Kuje and kept him in custody of the stepmother (Khadijat).
An eyewitness told Daily Sun that Khadijat would pass for a devil’s incarnate with what the innocent child passed through these past weeks.
“Just for trying to eat a wrap of moi-moi, this woman used her bathroom slippers to flog and leave serious marks on the little boy’s body. He was beaten until he could not cry anymore and she then left him in the cold, wet and muddy floor.”
The neighbours actually thought she was done with the beating, but they were mistaking, as Khadijat proceeded to peel a tuber of yam, poured it inside a pot, added water and salt and placed it on fire. When the yam was done, she grabbed the little boy, held his two hands and dipped them in the hot and boiling water which had now turned into a light paste owing to the cooked yam. She held the boy’s hands pinned into the hot water for a while before let- ting go.
It was the hapless boy’s shout for help and the attendant painful cry that elicited the attention of neighbours who came to his rescue, though it was too late because the harm had already been done. Surprisingly, the father did absolutely nothing when he returned home and saw his child in such debilitating state.