A resident of Furniture Avenue, Jakande Estate Gate in the Isolo area of Lagos State, identified as Mary is presently cooling off in Police custody for breaking the head of her 8-year-old son, Samuel, as a punishment for going to a neighbor’s house without permission. Mary inflicted the fracture on her son when she reportedly threw a stone at the boy.
The story began when Mary who works as a lotto agent, came back home and did not see Samuel in the house. She found the little boy in the house of their neighbor and when she tried to flog him, Samuel took to his heels. Resolved not to let him escape punishment, the mother was said to have picked up a stone and hurled it at the boy. The stone landed on Samuel’s head, damaging his skull.
Angered by her action, neighbors nearly mobbed Mary before the arrival of policemen from the Isolo Police Division, who whisked the woman away, while the young victim was rushed to a government-owned health facility. A resident of Furniture Avenue by name Salami, reported that neighbors first administered first aid treatment on Samuel before the police who arrested Mary arrived. He said:
“We were attracted on Friday by the cries of the boy. What angered most people was the belief that Mary was hostile to the boy. He dropped out of school last year and has not been attending any school.
“When I got to the scene, the boy’s shirt was stained with blood. Blood was also coming out from his head. The mother explained that she had warned him to stay at home. But when she came back, she could not find him. That made her angry. We initially administered first aid on the boy, and when he was stable, he was rushed to a general hospital. We then invited the police.”
Another neighbor, Mama Ada, who said that Mary’s action was never intentional, also revealed that Samuel was Mary’s only child, adding that the boy’s father had separated from Mary. According to her:
“Mama Sam (Mary) did not deliberately break her son’s head. The boy’s father had divorced her since last year, and he did not send any money for the upkeep of the boy. Samuel dropped out of school last year. The mother does not have a good job. Her fault was that she was too hard on the boy by hitting him with a stone. But she is now remorseful.”
One of the residents also reported the matter to the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, DSVRT, which in turn was said to have involved the Ministry of Youth and Social Development which sent one of its official to the area. DSVRT Coordinator, Lola Vivour-Adeniyi, disclosed that the ministry had taken custody of the wounded child.
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“The government has rescued the boy from his mother. The Child Protection Unit of the Ministry of Youth and Social Development was contacted, and a social worker was dispatched to rescue the boy.
“The boy’s father is no longer with the mother. The man has shown up at the police station, where he confessed that he was unable to financially look after the victim. The social worker subsequently took the child to a shelter until when he would be reunited with his family.
“The incidence of child abuse is on the increase. We, however, commend members of the public who report such cases. They will be treated with utmost confidentiality.”