The Delta State Police Command has arrested a man simply identified as Wisdom for allegedly maltreating, starving and locking up his two-year-old boy in a darkroom.
The son, identified as Zino, was said to have been maltreated by his father and stepmother at No. 113 Okumagba Avenue, off Deco Road, Warri.
The Director-General, Young Nigerian Rights Organisation, Victor Ojei, said on Sunday in Asaba that the child was also being allegedly molested by the father and stepmother.
He said, “Zino is a two-year-old child whose mother dropped with his father and stepmother at No. 113 Okumagba Avenue. Since then, the father and stepmother have been giving this child all sorts of maltreatment and starvation.
“They locked him up in a dark room and beat him up whenever he received help from neighbours. Neighbours were afraid that they might end up killing him.
“The police from the ‘B’ Division on Sunday morning arrested the father, Mr Wisdom. We are also taking him to the family court before the end of this week. The victim is now hospitalised at Warri.
“I commend all the people, who assisted us to ensure that the man was arrested. We swung into action on Saturday evening and on Sunday morning, we got him arrested.”
Efforts made to reach the Police Public Relations Officer in the state, DSP Onome Onovwakpoyeya, did not succeed as she did not take her calls and a text message sent to her mobile telephone had not been replied as of the time of filing this report.
But the Executive Assistant on Girl Child to the Governor, Bridget Anyafulu, said the Delta State Government was implementing the child right law, adding that the welfare of any child in the state remained paramount.
She stated, “The child is in hospital right now receiving treatment and we have to be sure that he is in a government hospital, because the child is still under five and no payment will be made under the 0-5 free medical programme of Governor Ifeanyi Okowa.
“If the family is vulnerable is a different thing, because the state has a way of managing such vulnerable families, but where adults decide to maltreat a child in Delta State, the government will want to find out why, because the life of that child is critical, whether the father is there or not. Every child counts in Delta State.
“We don’t want to hear that a child is suffering anywhere even if the child is living with the stepmother. It is the duty of the stepmother to be a good caregiver to that child.”