The family of a nine-year-old girl, Favour Anigbogu, has demanded justice after she was allegedly brutalised by her boss, Ginika Nebafe, who reportedly used a hot iron to inflict injuries on her head.
PUNCH Metro gathered that the child left her parents’ house in Anambra State for Port Harcourt, Rivers State, in April 2021, after Ginika promised to send her to school while she assisted with the house chores.
Ginika, while accusing the victim of stubbornness, allegedly used a hot iron to hit her in the head.
Our correspondent learnt that without informing Favour’s parents, the suspect drove the child to Nnewi, Anambra State, and left her in a clinic.
The girl’s mother, Chindima Anigbogu, said when she called Ginika to ask about the welfare of her child, the suspect lied that Favour had an accident and was being treated.
She said: “The woman’s brother came to me in April that she needed someone to take care of her kids. Because my husband had a challenge with his business, we did not have money. I have four kids, so I decided that my daughter should go and stay with her so things would be easier for us.
“I begged her that the most important thing I wanted for my daughter was for her to go to school and she said I should not worry. For the five months that my daughter stayed with her, she failed to enrol her in a school. But whenever I called to speak with my daughter, she would lie that she had gone to school.
“My daughter said sometimes she would sleep in the passage without eating. But the one that pained me most was this recent one that she used a hot iron to beat my daughter in her head, pulling her hair and flesh off. My daughter said sometimes she used a knife to slice her body; my daughter’s body is full of injuries.
“She called me in August that she was bringing my daughter in December because she was too stubborn and I said no problem.
“Two weeks after she called, I started having some strange feelings about my daughter and I called her. She said she wanted to call to tell me that my daughter was in a hospital.
“I asked her what happened and she said my daughter fell from the stairs and hit her head on something and when she was rushed to the hospital, they said they would have to operate on her.
“When I asked to speak with my daughter, she said I should not worry that she was alive, not knowing that she went to dump my daughter in Nnewi.
“It was the lady treating her in Nnewi that called to notify us that my daughter was with her and that she would bring her to us. When she brought her, I could not recognise my daughter; the skin and the hair on her head were chopped off by the iron. My daughter’s boss has not called us since then. When I called her, she did not take her phone.”
Our correspondent learnt that the matter was reported at the CPS Police Station, Akwa.
Mrs Anigbogu alleged that the police requested the sum of N5,000 to register the case, and another N20,000 to travel to Port Harcourt to arrest the suspect.
While calling for the arrest of Ginika, she said her daughter deserved justice.
The suspect, however, denied torturing Favour with a hot iron, saying she was only involved in a domestic accident.
Ginika said, “She came into my house and messed it up and when I wanted to flog her, she ran into a store where we kept certain things, including pulpits and speakers. Maybe it was one of the speakers that fell on her head; I don’t even know what happened and that was why I said it was an accident. It was my responsibility to take care of her, which I did.”
Her husband, who identified himself as Apostle Nebafe, said the family spent about N75,000 to treat the injuries.
“I took her to doctors at Nnewi and I gave her parents N30,000. One of my in-laws gave them N10,000 and the traditional prime minister also gave them N5,000,” he added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Tochukwu Ikenga, said the CPS Police Station claimed not have details of the case.
He, however, urged the victim’s mother to call him so the command could take up the matter.