A four-year old girl, tortured and locked in a dog cage for five months at a local community in Akure, has been rescued by the Police Command in Ondo State.
The rescue mission was carried by personnel attached to the Juvenile Welfare Centre (JVC) of the command, who told reporters that the little girl was a pupil of Temiloluwa Nursery and Primary School located at Imafon axis of Akure North Local Government Area (LGA) of the State.
Ondo State Commissioner of Police, Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, said the culprit identified as Mary Matthew – the victim’s foster parent – has been arrested. According to Harrison, Mrs. Matthew and her husband alleged that the young girl was possessed and that they needed to lock her outside of their apartment.
The commissioner said:
“On receipt of the information, personnel attached to Juvenile Welfare Centre (JVC) visited the scene and met the girl in the cage as reported.
“She [the young girl] was immediately rescued and taken to the Police Clinic for proper medical attention.
“The culprit was paraded at the Ondo State Police Headquarters Command on Igbatoro road in Akure.”
Speaking to Journalists, the little girl was able to narrate her ordeal living with her abusive Aunt. She disclosed that all efforts to run away from her foster family failed because she was afraid of being killed.
“She [Mrs Matthew) always tied me on my hands and forced me inside the cage while she flogged me with a horse whip every day.”
However, the culprit, Mary Matthew, a local farmer from Enugu State, denied the allegation but accused the girl of being a witch. She told reporters that she was a younger sister to the young girl’s late mother, and since the death of the girl’s biological parents she had been the one responsible for her upbringing.
The girl’s parents reportedly died from complications due to AIDS. When asked, Mary Matthew said:
“I didn’t put her in any cage. The place I locked her is my small shop and I always put her in the place anytime am going to the farm for cultivation.”
Further investigations is to be conducted by the Police Command and they threatened to charge the culprits, Mr. and Mrs. Matthew, to court for child abuse if evidence is found in favour of the case.