A 12-year-old girl has narrated her ordeal to officials of the Ebonyi State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, explaining in her dialect how she was subjected to inhuman treatment by her mistress, Mrs. Mrs. Nkechi Bartholomew.
The victim, Faith Nwanja, who hails from Okoffia community in Ezza South Local Government Area, was tortured, mutilated and abandoned by Bartholomew for being too stubborn.
It was gathered that Bartholomew, a childless woman, who is also a tailor by profession, adopted Nwanja and took her to Onitsha, Anambra State, when she was eight years old. But has continuously disfigured the little girl for close to four years.
It was also learnt that Nwanje is currently in custody of Ezza-South Local Government in Ebony state, while Bartholomew is now at large.
The victim said she was suffering great pains in parts of her body where her mistress used different objects, including iron rods and wire to beat her.
She said: “My madam, Bartholomew, disfigured me like this. I was a full-fledged human being when she took me to Onitsha, Anambra State. She inserted her fingers in my eyes and inflicted these injuries on me.
“In this my mouth, she usually uses stones and puts inside it. She said I don’t normally brush my teeth and since I cannot do it, I must always suffer for it.
“The husband has never beaten me; he always gets annoyed seeing me being tortured by his wife. At times, he will summon courage and quarrel with his wife because the wife is bigger than the man.
“My madam used to lock me inside a dark room after beating me up. I was taken home by my madam’s sister who told her to take me home but she refused. My madam used to tell me that nothing will happen if I die, that she will spend her money and regain freedom if she is arrested if anything happens to me.
“I was attending school in the village before she took me to Onitsha. But since four years that I went to Onitsha, I have not gone to school. I only eat in the evening every day.
“My madam used to insert stick into my private part, she says I am stubborn. After beating me up, she will bring to gallons and placed my two legs. She will tie my legs on them and insert stick into my private part.”
Meanwhile, the Vice Chairman of the Council, Mrs Caro Ewa, explained that the victim was brought to her on February 12 by Head of Department of Education and Social Welfare of the council.
She said the Chairman of the council, Mr Sunday Ogodo, ordered the arrest of the mother and brother of the accused because they were conniving to shield Bartholomew from arrest.
“Her mother and brother have been released by the police, but her younger sister is still in detention because she stays in Onitsha with them and also brought the victim back to Ebonyi along with her aunty.
“No government will support this evil, because the level of injuries on the child’s body is weird,” Ewa said.
Also, Mr Godwin Igwe, Head of Department, Child Development in the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, described the degree of injures on the victim as “real damage’’.
According to him, the perpetrator boasted that she will settle the matter with money.
“This is worrisome. There is increasing cases of child brutalization.
“From all indications Nwanja’s hand is condemned and we don’t know the extent of damage to her brain and other parts of her body,” Igwe said.