A 36-year-old Abuja-based pregnant woman identified as Kemi Egbukole, is currently facing criminal charges for a vicious early morning attack on her 16-year-old house-help, Hope David, who she attacked with hot boiling water which badly burnt her breasts just because she woke up late to do her house chores.
The Police said Mrs. Egbukole, who is being investigated for child abuse and trafficking offences by the Police, National Human Rights Commission and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, would be charged to court after investigations are concluded.
The mother-of-one who had earlier denied responsibility for the assault, said she attacked Hope because she failed to wake up early.
Lambert Oparah, the Deputy Director, Protection and Investigations, National Human Rights Commission, said Mrs. Egbukole later admitted the attack, but claimed it was an accident, and that Hope was immediately taken for medical treatment, noting that the medication given to Hope was faulty. “She was taken to a chemist, they put plasters around her breast which was not quite good,” he said.
Neighbours at Minta 1 Estate, Lokogoma, Abuja, where the family lives, said Mrs. Egbukole had been a notorious child abuser, who repeatedly attacked Hope with dangerous objects including rods.
One of the neighbours who reported the matter to the National Human Rights Commission and the National Agency for the prohibition of Trafficking in Persons told correspondents that she took the decision after seeing the serious injury inflicted on Hope’s breast.
The neighbour said that she was startled by Hope’s screaming on March 3 morning, when the girl ran out from her home. “She ran out of the house and came to my side. Mrs. Egbukole was still trying to flog her with a mop stick,” the neighbour said.
The neighbour said at first she thought Hope was attacked with pepper or cold water as in the past. “I thought it was just water and pepper, or something, until the girl screamed back again in my room and I shouted, ‘What!’ the breast has pilled already.
“So I shouted and said ‘Come you did this thing to this girl and you still want to flog her again? I will report you to the police and NAPTIP; at that point she started begging and immediately she started telling lies,” the neighbour said.
The Abuja police spokesperson, Manzah Adjuguri, said Mrs. Egbukole told the police that the pastor who allegedly brought Hope from Nasarawa was her uncle.
He said the police were yet to contact the girl’s parents. He however assured the matter will be charged after investigation.
“It is a matter of concern to the command based on the rate of injuries that has been sustained by the girl. And for us, here at the command, justice must take its full course,” he stated.
The spokesperson of NAPTIP, Joshua Emerole, said Hope would remain under the agency’s care until the end of the investigation, adding that Mrs. Egbukole will face other charges including the violation of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act, 2015.