by crossriverwatch admin
A thirteen year old girl, Precious Udu, who was taken from Obudu in northern Cross River State to Calabar to work as a house maid has been bathed with hot water severely burning her neck, shoulder and chest even as she was not allowed to attend school by her mistress, Esther Amunde.
Precious said sometime in 2012, one Sister Amaman approached her mother and appealed that her sister Esther Amunde residing in Calabar needed somebody to stay with her and that she should allow Precious to be taken to Calabar to serve as housemaid to Esther, a student nurse with the School of Nursing Calabar.
“When my mother accepted Sister Amaman then said I had to stay with Mama Justina who is Esther’s mother for her to study my character and if she approves of my behavior I would then be taken to Calabar and I stayed with her for about three months before Esther came during Obudu new yam festival in August and took me to Calabar”.
She said when they got to Ekotenim One in Calabar where Esther resides she started work as house maid , and when school resumed in September she appealed to Esther to seek for admission for her in any of the public secondary schools close to where they live but Esther refused insisting that her son whom Precious was brought to take care of was still too small so Precious should continue to take him to school and bring him back to the house.
“I was attending Girls Secondary School Obudu and I was in JSS One even when I was with her mother, Mama Justina, she allowed me to go to school but Esther said because of Junior, her son I cannot attend school.”
The distraught girl said often when James Amunde, Esther’s husband returns to Port Harcourt where he works, she was subjected to abuse and maltreatment as Esther and her younger brother, papa, beat and refuse her food making her to run out of the house to stay with neighbors.
“When I run out to stay with neighbors she would be knocking on gates to ask if the little girl staying with her is in their place and if they said yes, she would then take me back to the house even when I say she should take me back to my mother”.
The dingdong affair continued till 9th of March when Precious said “I unplugged hot water from the socket and was turning it into the drinking bucket when Papa said the water had touched him and went and brought a bowl and fetched the hot water I was turning and poured it on my face but I dodged and the water poured on my shoulder and neck”.
She said when she went to tell Esther her mistress, she said nothing and did nothing not even take her to hospital. “It was Tuesday when the place had started peeling that she gave me two tablets of Panadol and the landlady robbed aloe vera gel on the wound. She did not give me food but asked me to eat eba that had gone bad with maggots in it but I refused to eat and stayed hungry that day”.
Thereafter, she said nothing was done about the wound and she was still doing her house chores until Thursday 14th March “When I went to fetch water from the borehole that some neighbors saw me and screamed and one of them took me to the General Hospital”.
At the General Hospital, a nurse who identified herself as Alice, and also social worker called Barrister James Ibor, a child rights activist who went and intervened.
Barrister Ibor told crossriverwatch that “We have written to the Cross River State Commissioner of Police to effect the arrest of Esther and the brother to face the law because what they have done amounts to felony.
“In the first instance what they did by taking Precious from her mother in far away Obudu to Calabar to serve as house maid is human trafficking even though we hear her mother and father have separated”.
Precious, Ibor said is now living in an orphanage awaiting when she can be taken back to her parents after the wounds are healed.
follow us on twitter @crossriverwatch
Since You Are Here, Support Good Journalism
CrossRiverWatch was founded on the ideals of deploying tech tools to report in an ethical manner, news, views and analysis with a narrative that ensures transparency in governance, a good society and an accountable democracy.
Everyone appreciates good journalism but it costs a lot of money. Nonetheless, it cannot be sacrificed on the altar of news commercialisation.
Consider making a modest contribution to support CrossRiverWatch's journalism of credibility and integrity in order to ensure that all have continuous free access to our noble endeavor.