Two women, identified simply as Mrs. Amadi and Mama Esther, have been arrested by the police in Lagos State for allegedly abusing a 9-year-old girl, Joy Esemonu, in order to use her to beg for alms.
They were said to have bathed Esemonu in acid which made her sustain injuries in different parts of her body.
They led her every day to a pedestrian bridge in the FESTAC area of the state where she was made to beg for alms from passersby and at the end of every begging trip, which yielded N5, 000 to N6, 000 daily, the suspects reportedly shared the money.
Luck ran out on them after a Good Samaritan observed the victim’s condition on the bridge.
She was said to have alerted policemen from the FESTAC division which led to the arrest of the two suspects.
The Police Public Relations Officer, PPRO SP Dolapo Badmos, confirming the incident said, “Investigation reveals that it is their stock in trade.”
The PPRO noted that the matter was subsequently referred to the Office of the Public Defender, which transferred the victim to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related matters, NAPTIP.
Commenting on the incident, the NAPTIP Lagos zonal coordinator, Mr. Joseph Famakin, said “The girl was brought to us last Friday and she is going through some psychological counseling and treatment. We are also investigating if there are other people involved in the crime.
“The two suspects are with the police,” Famakin said, condemning the action of the women, saying the state would ensure that justice was served.
A social worker, privy to the case said Mama Esther was a relation of the victim and had lured her from their village in Port Harcourt, Rivers State.
According to him, “The girl lived in Port Harcourt with her parents. But last year, her mother handed her over to Mama Esther after the latter promised to support the family by taking the girl to Lagos.
“She said the girl would continue her education when they get to Lagos. However, when she brought her to Lagos, she decided to hand her over to Amadi, who she owed some money.
“The woman then decided to use her for begging. The girl said she noticed that Amadi would make her sleep before pouring a substance suspected to be chemical on her body.
“By the time she woke up and scratched the spots after feeling some pains, they would become sore. The woman would then bandaged the place and take her out for begging.
“She said whenever the injuries heal, she would make her sleep again and pour the chemical on her. The woman started with her bottoms and then her laps.
“She said such had happened about four different times.”