The female staff of Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mrs. Yemi Awolola, who was arrested last week for alleged child torture and sexual abuse in Kaduna, has been remanded in Kaduna Correctional Center.
Mrs Awolola was on Monday charged to Senior Magistrate Court 3 for child torture in a suit with court registration number: KMD/204XB/2020.
Chief Magistrate Bashir Shittu Yusuf, who presided over the case, had earlier denied the accused bail, before adjourning the case till August 27, 2020 for hearing.
Awolola was charged before the Court alongside her daughter and a house help, both of whom are minors of about 15 years of age.
Blueprint recalls that the NNPC group staff in Kaduna, was arrested on Monday, July 6, for allegedly applying hot object on the genital area of one 14-year-old house help, Princess Michael, over alleged stealing and hiding of food items in her house, an offence that contradicted Kaduna State Violence Against Persons Prohibition Law 2018.
Fielding questions from newsmen outside courtroom, the immediate past Chairperson, International Federation of Female Lawyers (FIDA) who is the complainant, Barrister Bukola Ajao, said the accused has pleaded guilty to the allegation leveled against her, hence, the decision of the court to adjourn the case till August 27.
Giving background to the case she said, “I got a call from a colleague, Barrister Toyin, on July 9, that a 14-year-old, one Princess Michael was on admission at Harmony Hospital, Narayi, Kaduna, with a series of burns all over her body. I went there immediately. But, there was someone from another NGO called GIWAC, Uziah on ground before my arrival at the hospital.
“We interviewed the girl and she narrated her ordeal. We then agreed to swing into action the following morning and the woman was invited to Barnawa Police station from where we are where we are now,” she said.
Father of the girl, Michael Augustine, explained how her daughter became a house help in Mrs Awolola’s house, following unrest in his community coupled with the woman’s pledge to enrol her in school. “It all started when some gunmen in April, 2019, attacked our village, Kutura station, Kajuru local government area of Kaduna state where my elder brother and his son were gruesomely murdered.”
The father of four, where Princess was second, said that development made him send his daughter to stay with her younger sister, Esther Moses Danfulani, a mother of two who coincidentally lost her husband to gunmen in another attack in Kutura station in the same local government area in September 2019.
According to Esther, who was also present in court, “We enquired about the woman before we allowed the girl to go and stay with her. People said she is a nice woman and that cleared our doubt about the safety of the girl. We were so happy that the girl will continue her education under the care of her mistress. We are sad that what started peacefully has brought us this far”, she said in tears.
Meanwhile, wife of the Kaduna sState Governor, Hajiya Ummi el-Rufai, who came to witness the proceeding in court, commended the decision of the Magistrate Court saying that issue of child abuse would not be tolerated in the state.