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24 Dec 2017
Couple arrested for burning hands of 18-month-old son
National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) arrested a couple early Saturday for physically abusing their 18-month-old son.
Ayo Yahaya, 43, from Kogi, and His wife Khadija, 30, are said to have serially abused the infant since he began living with the couple.
According to NAPTIP, Yahaya forcefully took the boy from his biological mother whom he divorced six months ago and placed him in the care of his second wife.
The boy has been starved and beaten, as injuries on him show.
Last Thursday, his stepmother was reported to have burnt his hands, buttocks and penis.
She dipped his hands into a pot of boiling yam after she caught him trying to eat moi-moi.
Accounts from NAPTIP’s rapid response squad interviewing neighbours of the family in Chikuku, Kuje Area Council of the FCT, said the boy was left without food last Thursday till 2pm when he crawled to the family kitchen and found moi-moi.
“He opened one wrap of the meal and his stepmother beat him with her slippers,” said NAPTIP.
She beat the boy until he couldn’t cry anymore and then left him on “cold, wet and muddy floor,” neighbours told officials.
“The step mother proceeded to peel a tuber of yam, poured it inside a pot, added water and salt to the yam, and placed it on fire,” NAPTIP said in a statement.
“When the yam was done, she grabbed this little boy, held both hands and dipped them in the hot boiling water which has now turned into a light paste owing to the cooked yam.
“She held the boy’s hands pinned into the hot water for a while before letting go. The boy’s shout for help and cry of agony drew the attention of neighbours who came to his rescue, but it was too late. The father returned without doing anything.”
The couple went into hiding to evade arrest on Friday after NAPTIP officials got reports of the incident and began investigating, the agency said.
They were arrested early Saturday, put in NAPTIP custody and are “now making useful statements,” said NAPTIP spokesman Josiah Emerole.
The infant has undergone surgeries at University of Abuja Teaching Hospital, with assistance from public spirited individuals.
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