Most child abuse cases in Nigeria often go on unreported.
A 39-year-old woman, Mrs. Monica Momodu, has been arrested by the police for assaulting her housemaid, Sara Egbadon, with a hot iron, causing bad wounds on her skin.
Sara, a Junior Secondary School 2 pupil, had been living with the abuser for five years at Abiodun Adesida Street, Oke Afa, Lagos.
The iron injury was inflicted on her by her boss when she was found dosing off while ironing her children's clothes.
Momodu, fearing that Sara might burn the clothes angrily slapped her with the hot iron on the hand and thigh.
According to the 13-year-old Sara, she was exhausted by the time she began ironing the clothes.
She had just finished washing some clothes and subsequently moved to fanning her guardian before she was assigned to the ironing duty.
Egbadon’s teachers observed the injuries and reported the abuser to the police at the Aswani division, which led to Momodu's arrest.
Narrating how she became an housemaid, Egbadon said, “My mum divorced my dad about six years ago and she is now in Benin. She left my three siblings and I with him. When he could not take care of us, he gave me to madam who is our relative.”
“On Sunday, she said it was stuffy and told me to fan her. When the electricity was restored, she told me to iron her children’s clothes. I was sleepy while ironing the clothes. She said I wanted to burn the clothes, collected the iron and placed it on my hand and thigh.
“Her husband is not aware of the way she treats me. He lives in Abuja and comes home once in a while. Whenever we travel home, she is kind to me in the presence of my father. I want to go back home.”
Momodu had another version of the incident. She claimed that Egbadon had inflicted the injury on herself due to the fear of being scolded.
She said, “She was sleeping and I asked her how she could be sleeping while ironing. It was that shock that led to all this. I did not know she informed her teacher. The iron fell on her. I did not do it. I did not tell her to fan me.”
Child abuse by domestic employers has long since been a problem, as they are subjected to all forms of aggression.
Most of these cases are never reported due to fear. It usually takes an observation by outsiders such as Egbadon's teachers to notice.