The Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA), through its Social Development Secretariat (SDS), has taken custody of a 12-year-old girl, Rita Anago, after she was found to have been serially assaulted and brutalised by her guardian, Mrs. Blessing Anago.
This is just as the SDS has launched full investigations into the circumstances that may have resulted in the multiple bruises dotting the body of a 12-year-old student of Community Secondary School, Wuse.
Director, Gender in the SDS, Hajiya Amina Abubakar, told journalists that the case of Rita Anago reched them through the authority of the school that had written to it to report the matter.
She explained that the teenager was observed to be weak and sickly, during a physical Education (PE) session, with blood and pus stains all over her uniform and that her body was examined by her teachers, who saw that the entire body was dotted with wounds and scars, inflicted on her at different times.
Abubakar said she was taken to the school’s sick bay for treatment, after which the matter was reported to the secretariat.
A letter to the SDS, written on September 14, 2012, signed by Mrs. Jan Okpanachi, the Superintendent of the school, a copy of which was made available to journalists, reads in part, “I am writing to you concerning a student in our school named Rita Anago, who joined the school just a session ago. During PE class, it was noticed that she had blood and pus stains on her shirt.
“When taken to the nurse for investigation, it was discovered that she had serious wounds all over her stomach, leg and back which she explained were result of beatings at various times with a double card.” Efforts to get the guardian of the girl react on the development failed as she refused to pick phone calls put across to her phone.
However, neighbours at her multi-tenant apartment on Agadez Street, Wuse 11 said Rita is the step daughter of Mrs. Anago. The neighbours who confirmed that the girl had been going through series of abuses, as she was always beaten among the other children in the house, expressed happiness that the FCTA has taken custody of the child.
The director, who said the child has been in its custody for about two weeks now, said she was doing well and was being escorted to school by welfare officers to prevent any attempt by Mrs. Anago to take her back without explaining her reasons for the serial abuses evidenced with the healed and healing wounds on her body.
She commended the effort of the school for reporting the matter promptly and called on all residents to report all forms of abuses meted innocent and defenceless children in the Territory to the SDS for appropriate action insisting that tenants and teachers should lead in this direction.
According to her, all children living in the FCT were constitutionally protected by the Child Rights Act which the FCT has domesticated and advised parents and guardians to bring up children under their care with the maximum attention and love they can offer them.