A 38-year-old trader, Mrs. Caroline Akanwa, has been arrested by the Area C Police Command, Lagos State, for allegedly battering her niece, Chioma Uneneme.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Akanwa had in 2015 brought the 10-year-old from Okofia, Anambra State, to the Iponri Police Barracks, where she lived with her police husband and two children.
The victim was said to have assisted with the house chores, as well as the management of Akanwa’s recharge cards business.
Our correspondent was told that the suspect, however, always flogged Uneneme for every offence till her back was marred with sores.
On one of such occasions, the victim was said to have been battered for allegedly selling a recharge card of N1,000 for N970.
Uneneme’s teacher at St. Paul Primary School, Iponri, who discovered the scars, reportedly took her to a hospital for treatment.
The hospital management, however, insisted on a police extract before going ahead with the treatment.
The school was said to have written a petition to the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender on the matter.
Officials of the OPD and policewomen from the Area C Police Command were said to have gone to the barracks to arrest Akanwa.
In her statement at the OPD, the suspect allegedly confessed to the crime, saying she never meant to inflict injuries on her niece.
She said, “Chioma (Uneneme) is my niece. I brought her to Lagos last year and she has been staying with me. I never intended to inflict injuries on her.
“Some time ago, a customer came to buy a N1,000 recharge card. She sold it for N970 after the person said he did not have the balance. I spanked her for it.
“The latest happened on June 7. My husband and I were not in the house. Somebody came and said my husband’s car was blocking his and he could not move out.
“She gave the person my husband’s car key and the man bashed my husband’s car while trying to move it. When I returned and saw what had happened, I beat her. Aside these, she steals from me. I beat her like I beat my children.”
The Director of the OPD, Mrs. Omotola Rotimi, told PUNCH Metro that the case was reported by the management of St. Paul Primary School, Iponri.
Rotimi, who spoke through the Public Relations Officer of the agency, Adeoba Adeniji-Adele, said the victim’s class teacher discovered the scars on her back and took her to the hospital.
She said, “But the hospital management asked for a police extract. The school then decided to write a petition to us. We immediately waded in and reported at the Area C Police Command. Some of our officials and the police went to the barracks to get her arrested.
“The initial scars she got from the beating had not healed, yet she decided to inflict more injuries on her. She used her hand, cane, stick and other objects to beat her. People must learn to control their anger.
“We have taken custody of the child and she is now in one of our transit homes.
“The suspect has two children, including a baby of about six months.”
Rotimi said cases of child brutality should not be shielded.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Akanwa was arraigned on Friday in a family court in Surulere and pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault levelled against her by the police.
She was said to have been admitted to bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum.
“The magistrate said one of the sureties must be a blood relation and the second, a civil servant of level 12 and above. One must also have a landed property in Lagos and the property should be verified by the Lagos State Government. The sum of N50,000 is to be paid to the account of the Auditor General of Lagos State. She was remanded in prison custody pending when she would meet the bail conditions,” a source said.