A forty-two-year-old lady, Mrs. Mary Matthew, was yesterday paraded by the Police in Akure, the Ondo State capital, for allegedly maltreating her late younger sister’s five-year-old daughter, Precious Michael.
Mary, who is a mother of six, was accused of chaining and caging the little Precious in a kiosk for five months for allegedly being possessed and suffering from an incurable disease.
Mary, an indigene of Enugu State but a resident of Imafo in Akure North Local Government, was said to have travelled to their home town last December, when she was informed of her younger sister’s death.
She later returned to her base with little Precious.
It was learnt Precious was put in the cage when Mary and her husband accused her of being possessed and suffering from a disease.
The five year-old girl fed, defecated and urinated in the cage for five months before she was rescued last month by the police.
Precious’ condition was said to have been pathetic, forcing an Assistant Superintendent Police (ASP), Special Children Centre at Akure “A” Division, Mrs. Olayemi Ojumu, to donate blood to her when the medical team said she needed blood transfusion.
But Mary, who denied caging the little girl, said she always lock her in a shop when going to the farm until she comes back.
Mary said she locks her up after she observed that one of her legs was swollen.
She said: “Immediately, I called my mother in Enugu that Precious’ leg was swollen, and she said she must have contracted the disease that killed her mother.
“I became perplexed, and in the cause of preventing her from infecting my other six children, I put her in a shop when going to the farm and when I return, I always remove her from that place. God is my witness.”
Precious accused her aunt of chaining her two legs and hands and flogging her before putting her in a cage.
She added that sometimes, she would not be fed by her foster parents.
Police Commissioner Mrs. Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison said the police came to the kid’s rescue when their neigbours told his officers about the girl’s situation.
The commissioner said when she saw the kid in her anaemic state, she could not control her emotion.
She hailed her officers, particularly the one who donated her blood, for the survival of the girl.
The police commissioner promised that the suspect and others apprehended in connection with the case would be charged to court.