Mrs. Egbukole, a pregnant mother in Abuja will be facing criminal charges for a deliberate cruel early morning attack unleashed on her 16-year old house help, Hope David, by pouring boiling water over her, consequently inflicting sever burns on her breasts as a punishment for waking up late.
The 36-year-old woman who is being investigated for child abuse and trafficking offences by the Police, National Human Rights Commission and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), would be charged as soon as the on-going investigations are concluded.
Mrs. Kemi Egbukole’s neighbours at Minta 1 Estate, Lokogoma, Abuja, confirmed that she had been ill-famed for constantly abusing Hope with dangerous objects including rods. The latest attack happened on March 3, they reported.
One of the neighbours who took the case to the National Human Rights Commission and the National Agency for the prohibition of Trafficking in Persons told Premium Times that she resolved to do so after seeing the degree of damage inflicted on Hope’s breasts.
According to the good neighbour who said the incident was one among the many similar treatments Egbukole had meted out to the teenage girl who had lived with her family for two years, her attention was attracted on the said date when she heard the victim screaming that morning and eventually ran out from the house. She said: “She ran out of the house and came to my side. Mrs. Egbukole was still trying to flog her with a mop stick.”
The neighbour futher said:
“I thought it was just water and pepper, or something, until the girl screamed back again in my room and I shouted, ‘What!’ the breast has pilled already. So I shouted and said ‘Come you did this thing to this girl and you still want to flog her again?’
“I will report you to the police and NAPTIP; at that point she started begging and immediately she started telling lies”
The neighbour revealed that Mrs. Egbukole alleged Hope poured herself water, But the woman had a history of abusing the girl, she said, giving an example of how Egbukole had hit Hope with a curtain rail, injuring her in the head, just a day before the hot water incident.
Talking about the matter, the Deputy Director, Protection and Investigations, National Human Rights Commission, Lambert Oparah, said Mrs. Egbukole had earlier denied responsibility for the assault but later owned up to the attack , alleging it was an accident, and that Hope was taken to the hospital immediately for treatment.
Oparah nevertheless pointed out that there was a problem with the medication given to Hope. He said : “She was taken to a chemist, they put plasters around her breast which was not quite good”.
Mr. Oparah made it known the commission suspected Hope was trafficked to Abuja quoting the woman who said the girl was given to her by a pastor who normally supplied girls from Nasarawa State to people living in Abuja seeking house helps. “She said she does not know the girl’s parents,” Mr. Oparah said.
According to Oparah, the case was immediately reported by the commission, to the Commissioner of Police, Abuja, who ordered further investigations on the matter, adding that the outcome of the investigation so far, showed there is every likelihood that Mrs. Kemi Egbukole will be charged for abuse of the Child Rights’ Act, 2003.
“The Child Rights’ Act clearly states the responsibility of parents or wards, as well as government or other agencies involved; regarding the dignity of the child, as well as the child’s right to adequate health and health services, which have both been abused in this case.”
Efforts to discuss the issue with Mrs. Egbukole and her husband was unsuccessful as they both refused to speak about it. The couple “had been at the FCT police command for interrogation and would be required to return intermittently till the end of the investigation”, the police said.
Speaking on the matter, the Abuja police spokesperson, Manzah Adjuguri, revealed that Mrs. Egbukole told the police that the alleged pastor who brought Hope from Nasarawa State was her uncle and also, said the girl’s parents were not yet contacted and guaranteed that the matter will be charged after investigation. He also said the command was still in touch with Hope and following her recovery at NAPTIP’s shelter stating that:
“It is a matter of concern to the command based on the rate of injuries that has been sustained by the girl. And for us, here at the command, justice must take its full course.”
Joshua Emerole, NAPTIP spokesperson, said Hope would remain in the custody of the agency pending the conclusion of investigations. According to him, Mrs. Egbukole will face other charges including the violation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.