A mother of two children has been remanded in prison for brutalising her 10-year-old niece in Lagos.
It was gathered that Akanwa had brought the girl who is her brother's child to live with her and her family at Iponri Police Barracks, from Okofia, in Anambra State in 2015, after promising to send her to school but instead, turned the girl into a slave for the family made up of her husband and two children.
According to her neighbours, the young victim was said to have assisted with the house chores, as well as the management of Akanwa’s recharge cards business, but was always flogged mercilessly anytime she ran foul of her aunt's instructions.
A neighbour who did not want her name mentioned, said that on one of such occasions, Akanwa battered for allegedly selling a recharge card of N1,000 for N970, leaving her with severe bruises all over her body.
It was Uneneme’s teacher at St. Paul Primary School, Iponri, who discovered the scars, and took her to a hospital for treatment but the hospital management refused to treat her, insisting 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 (OPD), on the matter and officials of the agency and policewomen from the Area C Police Command were said to have gone to the barracks to arrest the suspect.
In her statement at the OPD, Akanwa allegedly confessed to the crime, saying she never meant to inflict injuries on her niece.
“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, Omotola Rotimi, said the victim’s class teacher discovered the scars on her back and took her to the hospital.
“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.”
It was also learnt that Akanwa was arraigned in a family court in Surulere and pleaded not guilty to the charge of assault levelled against her by the police, and was admitted to bail in the sum of N100,000 with two sureties in like sum but was remanded in prison custody pending when she would meet the bail conditions.