The Gombe State Government said that it had filed charges against a man in the state who amputated the two hands of his nephew, identified only as Adamu, on the allegation that the 12-year-old stole a phone, Punch Newspaper reports.

The Director of Public Prosecutions in the Gombe State Ministry of Justice, Abubakar Jungudo, told PUNCH Metro in a telephone interview that the uncle of the amputated child would be prosecuted.

“We are going to prosecute the defendant. We are awaiting the assignment of the case by the Chief Judge of Gombe State. One of the magistrates in Kashere drew my attention to the case, having seen the seriousness of the injury and it was referred to the Gombe State Command of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps,” the DPP said.

In a statement commemorating Childen’s Day, the Vice Chairperson of the Nigerian Bar Association, Gombe branch, Mwalin Abdu, had decried the case of Adamu whose two hands were amputated over alleged phone theft in the Akko Local Government Area of the state.

Abdu, who doubles as Chairperson, Human Rights Committee of the NBA, condemned the spate of child abuse in a press statement she titled, ‘Protecting our future: Urgent action needed on child protection in Gombe State.’

She called on the authorities to implement the Child Protection Law to tackle cases of abuse, stressing the need for concerted efforts towards combating dastardly acts against minors.

She said, “In 2018, we woke up to the story of young Zubair Abubakar (13 years old), whose arms were amputated because of the abuse by his teacher; just four days ago was another devastating story of a 12-year-old Adamu from Tumu District in the Akko LGA of the same Gombe State, who also lost his arms due to a similar incident with Zubair Abubakar, over alleged theft of phone.”

“Even though the office of the Attorney General has taken over the prosecution of the cases, we believe that is not enough, because these two stories are just a tip of the iceberg of the numerous daily-reported and unreported complaints or cases of child abuse in the state, ranging from sexual abuse, child labour, child molestation, child trafficking and so on.”

While lamenting the effects of abuses perpetrated in the state, the NBA vice chair added, “The heartbreaking tales of young victims like Zubair Abubakar and Adamu from Gombe State underscore a troubling reality: child abuse remains a pervasive issue in our communities, transcending mere headlines to expose the harsh realities faced by our most vulnerable members.”

“While the ratification of the Child Protection Law in 2022 was a pivotal step, the gap between legislation and its effective enforcement looms large, leaving the children at risk and their futures uncertain.”

She called on stakeholders to rise to the occasion to put a stop to the overwhelming incidences of child abuse in Gombe State typified by the cases of Abubakar and Adamu.

“The time for passive observance has passed, the safeguarding of every child’s well-being demands immediate and resolute action. Gombe State must move swiftly to implement and enforce the Child Protection Law, ensuring that those who exploit and harm our children face the full force of justice. Robust reporting mechanisms, specialised victim support services, and widespread awareness campaigns are imperative to redress the rampant abuse, exploitation, and trafficking that plague our dear state,” she added.

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