A house help, Joel Sunday, has been hospitalised after his boss, Opeyemi Omoyemi, tortured him with a razor blade and a knife at their residence on Adebowale Street, in the Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State.
It was gathered that a resident, who saw the injured victim writhing in pain, queried Omoyemi over the condition of the 15-year-old.
It was learnt that people in the area apprehended the suspect and took her to the Fanibi Police Station, Akure, where she was detained.
A resident, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said during interrogation, Omoyemi confessed to torturing Sunday for stealing meat and making her incur a debt of N100,000.
The resident said, “She confessed to using a blade and a knife to injure his hand, back, rib and leg. Sunday was crying because he was bleeding profusely. We rushed him to a police clinic at Alagbaka, where a medical practitioner stitched his wounds and used bandages to wrap parts of his body where he sustained injuries.”
Another resident claimed that the victim was starved and malnourished.
“The boy had been working with her for close to two years. She hardly fed him. We learnt that she usually gave him a half cup of garri every day to eat. We bought a big loaf of bread and the boy finished it before we left the hospital,” the resident added.
The state Police Public Relations Officer, Funmilayo Odunlami, confirmed the incident, adding that investigation into the case was ongoing.
She said, “So far, her claim is that the small boy stole meat from her pot of soup.”
Omoyemi was arraigned on Monday before a magistrate’s court sitting in Akure.
The 36-year-old widow was arraigned on five counts bordering on attempted murder, child abuse, violence against persons prohibition, among others.
The defendant pleaded guilty to counts one, four and five, and pleaded not guilty to count three.
The police prosecutor, Mr Emmanuel Tanimowo, said the defendant committed the offence on Sunday, February 6, 2022, at her residence.
The prosecutor told the court that the crime was reported to the police by a community health worker, Mrs Alice Ayedun.
He said, “Mrs Alice Ayedun was going to church when she saw Joel Sunday crying, with blood on his body and the woman was forced to stop to see what was happening; she saw the defendant beating up the boy at the back of the house.
“She immediately rescued the boy from the woman. The defendant had asked the boy to wash the blood off his body after she used a razor blade to cut his body and made open injuries.
“In order to rescue the boy from the woman, Ayedun told her that she was a nurse and that she was taking the boy to a hospital for treatment. The woman later took the boy to the Fanibi Police Station to report the matter, which led to the arrest of the defendant.
“At the police station, she confessed to the crime and that she observed that the boy had packed all the meats in her pot of soup. She said immediately the boy saw her, he tried to run away, but she held him. She later took him to the sitting room where she used the razor blade to cut various parts of the boy’s body. The boy was later taken to the police clinic and currently undergoing treatment, but still in a critical condition.”
However, counsel for the defendant, Mr Gbenga Allen, appealed to the court to temper justice with mercy as the defendant was a first time offender.
In her ruling, the Magistrate, Mrs O.A. Edwin, said the defendant was guilty of counts one, four and five.
She adjourned for sentencing and trial of count three till February 14.
Edwin, however, stated that the court had no jurisdiction to hear count two, which bordered on attempted murder.
The magistrate also ordered that the four children of the defendant be taken to a government home for custody.
Speaking after the court ruling, the Executive Secretary, Agency Against Gender-Based Violence, Mrs Bola Joel, said the case would be monitored to ensure that justice was served.
She said, “The boy that was assaulted by the woman is presently at the hospital, groaning with pains, with stitches all over his body. The perpetrator has pleaded guilty to the charges before the court. This will send a signal to the public that you are not supposed to abuse or assault any child put under your care. We will continue to monitor cases like this to ensure that all our children are safe anywhere they are.”