A 13-year-old girl, Precious Edu, has accused the brother-in law of her employer of pouring hot water on her.
Edu, who said she was denied the opportunity of attending school after she was brought to work with Esther Amunde and her brother-in-law, Papa, in Calabar, Cross River State, said Papa poured the water on her after accusing her of splashing water on him.
She said after the hot water left some burns on her neck, shoulder and chest, she was left to wallow in pains for two days until neighbours took her to the hospital for medical attention.
Narrating her ordeal to PUNCH Metro on Saturday on her sick bed, Edu, who is currently being treated at the Calabar General Hospital, said she was brought to Ekorinim area of the state from Obudu in the northern part of the state to work as housemaid on the agreement that she would continue her secondary education.
But the situation changed as she was allegedly denied schooling by Amunde, who insisted that Edu must not be distracted from taking care of her little son.
Edu said, “Sometime in 2012, one woman, Amaman appealed to my mother to release me as a housemaid to her sister, Esther Amunde, residing in Calabar because she needed somebody to stay with her.
“When my mother accepted, it was with the understanding that I would continue my schooling. I initially stayed with Amunde’s mother in Obudu for three months before Amunde came during Obudu new yam festival in August 2012 to take me to Calabar.”
Edu said on getting to Calabar, she worked full time as housemaid until September when she expected that she would resume school with other children.
She said she reminded Amunde to register her in a school in Ekorinim, but she turned down the request, saying her work was to take care of her son.”
Edu said, “Amunde refused to register me in school insisting that my duty in her house was to take care of her (Amunde) son.
“I was attending Girls Secondary School in my village and I was in JS-1. Even when I was with her mother (Amunde) briefly before coming to Calabar, she allowed me to go to school. But my boss said because of her son, I cannot attend school.”
Edu alleged that in the course of carrying out her duties, she was maltreated and abused by Papa.
She alleged that it was Papa that poured the hot water on her after a slight misunderstanding.
She said, “In the morning of March 9, I unplugged a kettle and was turning the water in it into a bucket when Papa said the water splashed on him. He soon brought a smaller bowl, dipped it into the bucket of hot water and poured it on me.
“When I told my boss about the incident, she neither reacted nor did anything to the burn. It was after my skin had had started peeling because of the burn that Amunde gave me two tablets of Panadol to use.“However, when I went to fetch water from the borehole five days later, some neighbours saw my peeling skin and screamed. One of them took me to the general hospital.”
At the hospital, a nurse, who identified herself as Alice, said a child rights activist, Mr. James Ibor, was called and he, in turn, alerted the police.
Ibor said, “We have made written requests to the Cross River State Commissioner of Police to effect the arrest of Amunde and Papa to face the law because what they have done amounts to felony.”The activist said what they did by taking Udu from her mother to serve as housemaid was human trafficking.
He said Udu would thereafter be taken to an orphanage where she would eventually be taken back to her parents after the wound had healed.
Efforts to get Amunde and Papa to speak on the issue proved abortive.
When contacted, the state Police Public Relations Officer, Mr. John Umoh, said he was yet to be briefed of the incident.