A nine-year-old housemaid, Precious Chinwedu, is still in pains two weeks after her boss, Mrs. Ifeoma Mbakwe, poured hot water on her for allegedly stealing crayfish.
The incident happened around 8pm on December 27 on Idowu Oya Street, Agbado, Lagos State.
The primary 3 pupil, who spoke with PUNCH Metro on Friday at Rem-Yems, a private hospital in Agbado, where she was admitted, said the woman had sent her to bring the crayfish in the kitchen.
Chinwedu said she had explained to her boss that she could not find the crayfish, but the woman accused her of eating it without her permission. She said Mbakwe angrily took a small pestle and hit her in the head.
Not done, Mbakwe, the mother of a seven-month-old baby, reportedly bit the girl in the back before pouring the hot water on her.
“She (Mbakwe) said I should bring crayfish, but I told her I did not see it. She said I ate it. She used something we used to grind pepper to hit my head. She bit me in the back and poured hot water on me.”
The girl, who hails from Orlu, Imo State, said, apart from regular beating, the woman would not give her lunch, adding that she wanted to go back to her parents.
“She does not give me food regularly. There is no food for me in the afternoon when I come back from the school. Sometimes, she would not give me food in the evening. I was brought to Lagos in July. She always beat me. I want to go back to my parents,” she said.
A nurse at the hospital, who did not want her name in print, said the clothes which Chinwedu wore when she was brought to the hospital was removed from her body with scissors.
“The woman said the girl mistakenly poured hot water on herself. She was in pains. We have treated her and she is now getting better,” she said.
A neigbour of Ifeoma, who identified herself as Abe, said they had cautioned her to stop beating the girl to no avail.
“If any of the neighbours gave her food, she would beat her. We talked to her several times to stop beating the girl, but she refused. I was not at home on the day the incident happend, she did not allow anybody to intervene,” she added.
The President, Youth Alive Ojokoro, Babalola Saheed, said Mbakwe initially said the girl was her child, but later told the police that she was her housemaid and that she punished her for stealing a piece of meat.
He said, “A member called me on December 30, 2015, to come to the hospital to see the girl. I met the woman and asked how it happened. She lied that the girl was her daughter.“She was not remorseful. I contacted the Ojokoro Police Station and she was arrested.“She was later transferred to Isokoko Police Division and she told the police that the girl stole a piece of meat from the pot and ate the baby’s food.“We later learnt that she had taken her to a nurse for treatment before she brought her to the hospital.”
Meanwhile, Mbakwe had been arraigned before an Ogba Magistrates’ Court last Tuesday on two counts of assault.
She was granted bail in the sum of N200,000 with two sureties in like sum after she pleaded not guilty to the counts.
The case was adjourned till January 27, 2016.