DEAF MOTHER SEEK JUSTICE FOR 5-YEAR-OLD DAUGHTER TORTURED BY UNCLE
A 32-year-old woman, Funmilayo Oladepo, created a scene at PUNCH Place, Magboro, on Tuesday as she embarked on a one-woman protest to demand justice for her five-year-old daughter, Enioluwa, who was allegedly tortured by her uncle’s wife.
Funmilayo, who was deaf and dropped out of Senior Secondary School after her father allegedly married a second wife, displayed a placard.
It read, “PUNCH, please help me. I need spirited human rights activists to look into my matter. The suffering meted out to me and my child by an uncle and the lot of them is too much. Deaf or not, I am a bonafide Nigerian and I have rights.”
Our correspondent, during a written cum verbal interview with the victim, gathered that a phone belonging to her cousin, Ladipo Ganikale, got missing on Tuesday at their family house on Fehintola Street, Olota, off Ekoro Road, in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State.
Funmilayo, who said she had gone to buy a loaf of bread for her daughter at the time, reportedly returned home to the accusation that she stole the phone and was ordered to produce it.
When she couldn’t, the uncle’s wife was alleged to have seized her daughter and flogged her with cane, while Funmilayo was held by Ladipo.
According to the Osun State indigene, the intent was to make her own up to the crime, adding that her continual denial made the woman increase her daughter’s torture.
She said she reported the case at the Meiran Police Division, adding that the policemen ignored her.
She said, “The incident happened on September 12, 2017. I had finished cleaning the house when my daughter said she wanted to eat. I went to the bus stop to get a loaf of bread for her.
“My phone was down due to low battery, so I decided to borrow a charger at the bus stop. After charging the phone for a few minutes, I put it on and saw a message from my uncle about a missing phone.
“I quickly rushed home and met my cousin in the passageway. I protested that they treated me as if I stole the phone, but he pounced on me. His wife, mother and father joined hands in beating me as well.”
She claimed that her uncle’s wife held her five-year-old daughter by the clothes and assaulted her.
“She grabbed her by the clothes in the neck and started hitting her. She said, ‘Tell your mummy to bring my phone or I will kill you.’ My daughter begged, but she didn’t listen.
“Her husband went to get a cane, which he gave to his wife to beat my daughter.
“Iya Ladipo dragged my daughter on the floor all the way to her shop while beating her. In order to save my daughter, I lied that I was the one that took the phone.
“When she stopped beating her, I pleaded that I did not know anything about the missing phone. She started beating my daughter again,” she added.
She said after her uncle’s family searched her property without finding the phone, she offered to release one of her two phones for peace to reign.
Funmilayo said after taking her phone, the family still insisted on getting the missing phone back.
She noted that tenants, who feared being ejected by the uncle, Rafiu Ganikale, refused to intervene while the torture lasted, adding that some passersby eventually rescued her.
“I went in search of my daughter; lo and behold, she was asked to ‘stood down’ with only a finger. If she staggered, Iya Ladipo would flog her. I almost fainted at the sight and ran to report to the police at the Meiran division,” she said.
The victim said the police did not attend to her on time as they insisted that there were other cases they were working to.
She said after hesitantly following her to the house, they discovered that her daughter had been locked up in a room.
Funmilayo alleged that her uncle gave the policemen “something” to stop the arrest of his wife, as Ladipo, their son, fled the house.
“My uncle followed us to the station. After waiting for hours at the station, their boss called my uncle to his office,” she said.
She said her daughter was with a relative in the Ota area of Ogun State, where she was being treated for the injuries she sustained during the incident.
PUNCH Metro gathered that Funmilayo dropped out of school when she was 16 years old as her father allegedly insisted that he didn’t have money to support her education after he had married a second wife.
She said she was working as a salesgirl for a woman in 2003 when she met a man who impregnated her.
For fear of being beaten by her parents, she reportedly followed the lover to a clinic where a quack doctor aborted the pregnancy.
She reportedly took ill due to the complications that followed the abortion and was admitted to a general hospital where she spent about two months.
Funmilayo lost her sense of hearing by the time she was discharged from the hospital.
Our correspondent learnt that a man, with whom she was keeping funds for a corrective surgery of her ears, took advantage of her and impregnated her again.
Asked to go for a second abortion, she reportedly refused and delivered the child, whom she named Enioluwa.
She claimed that during a disagreement with her stepmother, she was ejected from her parents’ house and was forced to fend for herself and her child.
PUNCH Metro was told that Funmilayo had been living in a rented apartment in Agungi, Lekki-Ajah, Lagos State, until a downpour in July 2017, displaced many residents, including her.
She had reportedly sought the help of her uncle for a temporary accommodation for two weeks pending when she would rent another apartment. She was, however, offered her late mother’s former room in the family house.
She had barely spent a week in the house when the allegation of phone theft was levelled against her, while her child was tortured.
“I have suffered so much pain and agony, and I don’t want my daughter to go through the same experience. I don’t want anything to affect her education. She is all I have left and she is innocent. I need Nigerians and human rights activists to come to my rescue,” she said.
The uncle, Rafiu, who denied the allegations against his family, lamented that Funmilayo had become “a thorn in the flesh of everybody.”
He said, “Funmilayo is a useless girl. She is my niece, but she is useless. She cannot go to any police station, she would be chased away. When her grandma was alive, she almost stranguled the old woman and that was the reason she was chased out of the family house. She fights with everybody in the house. She cannot go back to her father’s house because she once beat up her father and stepmother. We all are tired of her.
“Her late mother had paid for her final secondary school exams without knowing she had become pregnant and had gone for an abortion. It was the drugs she was given while trying to save her life that blocked her ears. She had been wandering around ever since then.
“She, however, came home recently and stole the two phones of my child while the boy was charging them. When the boy challenged her, she bit him. The bruises you saw on her mouth were probably from the boy’s retaliation.
“She went and lied to the police that she went to buy a loaf of bread for her daughter at Agege when the phones went missing, whereas she actually went to sell the phones. Nobody beat her child. She is a pretender and has created a lot of chaos. She once brought a human rights activist to the house and even slapped the woman, who withdrew from her case. She has been a useless girl and I don’t want to see her again.”
Another relative, Taiwo Ganikale, said Funmilayo had earlier threatened to deal with the family after claiming that the memory card of her phone was stolen.
“The next thing I heard was that Ladipo and his wife were charging their phones when she stole the phones. She went away for hours and returned at night only to claim that she went to buy a loaf of bread. She reported the matter to the police, who arrested and harassed my brother, Baba Bose (Rafiu), before he was released. She could be irrational,” he added.
The relative taking care of the child, Oluwakemi, told PUNCH Metro on Saturday that the girl had recovered after treatment.
“I can’t say the child had injuries. Her mother appeared to have suffered the most during the scuffle. The child was running a temperature when she was brought here. She was given medication and she is ok now,” she said.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, said the police dismissed the case after the parties agreed to settle amicably
He said, “From what I have gathered, it was a family issue and the Divisional Crime Officer attended to the parties. The uncle corrected the child; something like a family assault. They were advised to resolve the case amicably and report back to the police. We are still looking into the matter.”
– Copyright PUNCH