Published On: Thu, Aug 10th, 2017

Child abuse: How FCTA Call Centre help rescue of 11yr-old boy, 11 in Lugbe

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nigeria police badge logoBy Stanley Onyekwere

Eleven old, Chibuike Alexander Unegbu, whose human rights were being trampled upon by his own parents, is now enjoying some respite, following his rescue by government officials.
In particular, young Chibuike who faced myriad of molestation from his parents who were supposed to be protecting him, was on Wednesday rescued and handed over to FCT Administration’s Social Development Secretariat (SDS).
The long journey to Chibuike’s rescue started, when a concerned resident placed a call to the FCTA Call Centre, complaining that young Chibuike’s human rights were being trampled upon by his own parents.
According to the anonymous caller, for many years, Chibuike was being locked up in his parents’ house, with all doors padlocked whenever they were not around.
Unlike the couple’s other two younger kids, he (Chibuike) never went out with the parents to anywhere, including church and that he was not in school.
Our investigation revealed that persistent effort by a combined team of the Nigeria Police (Lugbe Division) and the FCT Administration who paid several unsuccessful visits to the house in Lubge to save Chibuike finally paid off last week when they met his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Ifeoma Chinasa Okwu and invited them to Lugbe Police station for questioning.
It was gathered that Chubuike Alexander Unegbu is a step son to Mr. Chinasa Okwu Okoi.
However, responding to these allegations, Mrs Ifeoma Okorie, said Chibuike and other children were being given the best she could, without segregation.
According to her, “Am surprised that it is termed that am neglecting my child, the child I had when I was in school.
“I am a proud mother and nobody loves my child more than me. It is not true at all that am neglecting my son, I love him.
“ I got pregnant for a boy who promised to marry me while in 200 levels at the University of Ibadan, but he later denied it.
“I went home with the pregnancy and my mother sent me out of the house that I should take the pregnancy to the boy.
“I took the pregnancy to Ukgiwe, Imo state, to stay with the boy’s parents for one year, where I gave birth to the boy (Chibuike).
“When he was six months old, I came back to stay with my Mum, because I was tired of staying in the village.
“I started doing jobs and I was able to save for my UTME form which I took and my name was first on the list in the English Department, Nassarawa State University.”
With tears rolling down her face uncontrollably, the seven-month old pregnant Mrs Okorie adds: “I took him to class back then the University, where everyone knew me and my son.
“I came out the best in my Department. For someone to tell me am ashamed of my son is not true at alla.”
She also revealed that when she was redeployed to Imo state from Jigawa State for her NYSC, she registered her son in Bright way International School, Keffi, but had to take him out in the first term due to high fees which she could not afford, and “my husband was not finding things easy”.
Reacting to the development, Acting Director, Gender development at SDS, Mrs. Agnes Hart said that the Secretariat confirmed the alleged ill-treatment gotten through the Call Centre.
She explained that “And we felt very concern that this shouldn’t be happening in the FCT. This is a very serious form of abuse so we contacted the Nigeria Police in Lugbe who kept on promising us to do something about it.
“But because we have the best interest of this child, we decided that we would bring the child and the family together.”
Stressing that the FCT has Child Rights Act which enables it to arrest or take such cases very seriously, warned that the FCT Administration would not take such abuses lightly.
She warned: “if you are a biological mother and you are molesting the child in anyway, we won’t take it lightly.
“So am sounding a note of warning to all parents, if you have intention of wanting to maltreat a child in FCT, it won’t be tolerated.
“We have the best interest of the child at heart. This is a clear form of abuse and we will not tolerate it in the FCT.”
In a related development, an abandoned child who gave his name as Sheriff Ibrahim was equally rescued and kept in the same Lubge Police Station.
According to the police, 5-year old Ibrahim was taken to them by a roadside roasted meat seller, popularly known asmaisuya, who explained to them that his mother bought N200suya at his stand last week Sunday, promised to be back soon to pick him up but she never turned up.

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