10-year-old Nneoma Nnadi , a domestic help who was burned several times with a clothes iron, had ground red pepper inserted in her private parts and her head pierced with a six-inch nail.
Mrs Ifeoma Ozougwu, and her husband, who the girl lived with in Enugu, capital of Enugu State has been Accused of this heartless cruelty.
Report said her mother is “a poor widow who had to give her up to live with someone in the hope that she will get education and survive.”
Instead, Nneoma had been serially abused and often locked in a toilet after torture sessions. It is commendable that the couple’s neighbours informed the police about her horrific situation.
At the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) of Enugu State University of Science and Technology Teaching Hospital, where the girl is receiving treatment, people who saw her condition “were cursing the lady and crying,” according to a report.
There were bruises all over her body, an indication of long-term torture, and “part of her forehead was still bleeding, as a result of the nail allegedly driven into it.”
The couple that tormented this girl may need to be examined to establish their mental health status. Normal people are not expected to be so devilishly wicked.
The girl was supposed to be a house help, which should not mean she could be treated like a slave who had no rights.
Indeed, this case further highlights the issue of underage domestic servants in the country. Reacting to Nneoma’s merciless maltreatment, Executive Director of Women Aids Collective (WACOL), Prof. Ngozi Ezeilo, said: “It is time to eradicate child labour, ban and punish heavily, anyone using children as domestic helps.
The Child Rights Act and the NAPTIP Act must be effectively enforced.” The group is involved in the pursuit of justice in the matter.
It is noteworthy that by law children are not supposed to be “employed as domestic help outside (their) home.”
Sadly, there are many children like Nneoma, boys and girls working as house helps in the country, who are going through experiences similar to hers. Many of them are subjected to physical violence and mental abuse, even sexual abuse.
Importantly, the International Convention on the Rights of the Child “recognises the fundamental human dignity of all children and the urgency of ensuring their well-being and development.”
It is reassuring that the police promised to carry out a “full-scale investigation” of Nneoma’s case, and prosecute “whoever was involved.”
The police have arrested the couple, and the case is under investigation.