The police have arrested a woman, identified only as Bassey, for allegedly inserting a stick of broom dipped in pepper into the private parts of a nine-year-old boy, identified as Promise, in the Ebute-Meta area of Lagos State.
PUNCH Metro learnt that Bassey had accused the victim, who was her nephew, of stealing N2,000.
Forcing him to confess to the crime, the mother of four allegedly resorted to the extreme measure.
Neighbours, who had reportedly observed the continuous abuse of Promise, reported the case to the police at the Iponri division.
Promise was said to have been taken to a hospital, where the stick of broom was removed.
Our correspondent gathered that officials of the Lagos State Office of the Public Defender had taken the victim to a government shelter.
A neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said Promise had been living with Bassey on Ashaka Street for the past five years, adding that his parents were late.
He said, “Promise is the son of Bassey’s elder sister. His mother brought him to live with her so she could assist him with his education.
“The boy was formerly in a private public school, but he was withdrawn immediately his mother died. His father is also late. Since that time, she turned him into an errand boy.
“I have known the boy for three years now and can categorically say that he is always being maltreated.
“There was a time the guardian beat him up and tortured him with a needle. She starved the boy for three days.
“On another occasion, she sent the boy out of the house in the night and left him outside till daybreak.”
He added that despite having four children from different men, Bassey had never maltreated her own kids.
Another tenant said matters got to a head on Wednesday, January 4, when the suspect allegedly inserted a stick of broom which had been dipped in pepper into Promise’s joystick for allegedly stealing N2,000.
He said, “She said she was looking for N2,000 and accused the boy of stealing it. She beat him up with a stick and used red pepper to rub his whole body. The boy was screaming, yet she did not stop.
“After that, she inserted a stick of broom, dipped in Cameroon pepper, into the boy’s private parts.
“We could not bear it again and we reported the abuse to the police at the Iponri division. She was arrested and is still in police custody.”
The tenant said some relatives of the suspect had been threatening to deal with them for reporting the case to the police.
The Director of the OPD, Mrs. Salami Olubukola, confirmed that Promise had been taken into custody.
She said, “It is absolutely shocking how adults mete out extreme punishment to kids for minor offences. How can one justify inserting a stick of broom into the private parts of a boy? What if the broom had broken inside the boy’s private parts? He would have been damaged for life.
“No matter the offence, adults must learn to control their temper when dealing with children. I hope she can reflect on her wicked actions and change while in detention.”
Olubukola said the agency would intensify campaign to reduce child abuse in the state.
The Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the incident, adding that the suspect had been remanded in prison.
“I confirm the case. The suspect has been charged to court and remanded in custody,” she said.