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“My Parents Sent Me To Lagos To Work” – 8-Year-Old Ebira House Girl Beaten To Coma Speaks

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“My Parents Sent Me To Lagos To Work” – 8-Year-Old Ebira House Girl Beaten To Coma Speaks

8 year old house girl beaten Lagos

March 8, 2014 – “My Parents Sent Me To Lagos To Work” – 8-Year-Old Ebira House Girl Beaten To Coma By Her Master Speaks

It took a while to rouse eight-year-old Sophia Shaidu, as she lay on her stomach on a bed in the children’s ward of the Aniyun Hospital, Gbagada, Lagos.

The nurse who had taken our correspondent in to see her was happy that the girl could at least fall asleep after days of excruciating pains that kept her awake.

“Some people are here to talk to you,” she was told.

Sophia spoke only Ebira language. She does not understand English; not even pidgin English because her guardian did not enrol her in school after she was brought to Lagos to work as a housemaid about three years ago.

So, our correspondent was only able to speak to her through an interpreter.

One thing was immediately clear when Sophia finally sat up with a considerable pain: dark marks dotted her body from her neck to her ankle.

She hung her left arm awkwardly, which made her flinch at the nurse’s touch.

“We are planning to do an X-ray on the arm. It’s likely she has a fracture there,” the nurse said.

“The marks on my body are from beatings,” the girl later explained.

Sophia said that after one of such beatings, she had not been able to use her left arm, which was now swollen, hard and discoloured at the elbow area.

The girl pointed accusing fingers at her guardian, Bashir Shuaibu, who is from Kogi State.

But what brought Sophia to the hospital was more dire and life-threatening than just the marks on her body and the fractured arm.

The little girl has a gash that is about six inches in diametre on her buttocks. It was created by sore, said to have developed after several beatings by Shuaibu.

Sophia said each time he spanked her, her buttocks swelled up and before it healed up, he spanked her again.

She told our correspondent that her parents asked her to live with him to make a living.

She said, “We are not related. My parents asked me to live with him in Lagos so that I could work and make money to take care of myself.

“He beat me almost every day and I don’t usually know what I did wrong. Anytime he beat me, I would scream and ask him what I did wrong, but he would not say anything. He would just continue to beat me.

“He usually beat me in the buttocks. I got a wound after a beating and I could not sit. He beat me on the same spot every day. He used wire and spatula (what Yoruba call orogun).”

Shuaibu is married and has a young child. Our correspondent asked if his wife ever joined in the beating as well but the girl explained that the wife usually told him to stop when the beating became too much.

“The last time he beat me (last week Friday), madam complained again and said it was his beating that made my buttocks have sore. She then said they had to take me to the hospital.”

When our correspondent visited the hospital in company with the Director of the Esther Child Rights Foundation, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, who is handling the case, the girl’s buttocks had been wrapped in a heavy dressing.

But a doctor who treated the girl was so alarmed by what he saw that he took many photographs before he dressed the wound.

“She still has a long way to go. Because of the extent of the injury, it cannot heal on its own. She has to undergo skin grafting. That cannot even be done at the moment, she has to remain in observation for a while,” the doctor said.

The flesh on Sophia’s buttocks when she was brought to the hospital was oozing pus and had to be scraped off, leaving a large gash.

The picture of the naked wound was so horrific that Saturday PUNCH could not publish it.

When our correspondent asked Sophia if she ever thought about running away because of the physical abuse, she said she thought about it but she didn’t know where to run to.

“I like my mother but I don’t want to go back to our village. My mother told me when I was leaving home to remain in Lagos and work,” the girl said.

She said her mother did not know what she was passing through because she had never spoken with her since she was brought to Shuaibu’s house to work three years ago.

She does not know her mother’s phone number.

The girl said the man had told her parents that she would be enrolled in school, but that never happened.

Shuaibu who was arrested and detained at the office of the Lagos State Taskforce has been released on bail. The hospital said he had not been forthcoming with the fund for the treatment of the girl.

Shuaibu, who claimed he still intended to put the girl in school, said he only spanked her when she acted stubbornly, lied and defecated in the house.

“Her parents are my relations. She is lazy and does no work. I did not know she had injury on her buttocks because she was hiding it. It was when we noticed it that we brought her to the hospital. I really regret that something like this happened to her,” he said.

Ogwu said cases of extreme physical abuse on housemaids were becoming common in the country because perpetrators were not being jailed for such crimes.

She said, “When we were contacted by nurses at the hospital and we visited the girl, what I saw was something I almost could not handle emotionally. I cried because I simply could not understand that a human being would do that to a child.

“Is it that people do not know that physical abuse or any kind of abuse of a child is a serious crime? Or is it that people believe they can bribe the police and get away with this kind of crime when they are arrested? It is just very sad.

“That child cannot be normal again because the money required for her treatment cannot be paid by the man who committed the crime. The only choice we have left is to see if the state government can wade into the matter and get her treated in a government-owned hospital.”

She said the parents of the girl should be prosecuted along with the man who perpetrated the abuse.

Our correspondent contacted the Chairman, Lagos State Task Force, Supol Bayo Suleiman, to find out what arrangement had been made to hold Shuaibu accountable for what he did.

Suleiman said he was released on bail with sureties and had been directed to report to the task force office daily.

He said, “Referring to the girl as a housemaid is incorrect because the man said they are relations. He was just trying to help the family of the child. The only mistake he made was that he did not bother to check if the spanking he gave the girl to correct her had left a physical injury on her. He was just trying to correct the girl to do what is right.

“You know when a girl defecates on the bed everyday and one has tried to correct her with no change, he may have to punish her to ensure she changes. But it is unfortunate it led to this kind of thing in this case.”

When told that the man’s ‘correction’ showed numerous marks of spanking all over the body of the girl, Suleiman said “Truly, spanking a child should have limits. But in this case, it’s just unfortunate that it led to such injury.”

He explained that his office was still handling the issue to ensure that proper care was given to the girl.

The Child Rights Act 2003, Section 14 states that “Every child has a right to parental care and protection. No child shall be separated from his parents against the wish of the child except for the purpose of his education and welfare.”

Section 11 of the law also criminalises various forms of abuse of a child, one of which is the extreme physical abuse that Sophia has suffered.

[By Kunle Ajayi, Punch Metro]



  1. Modinat

    March 8, 2014 at 5:56 AM

    Her mother is the first suspect here. How can send such a young girl to work for the family
    Gross child abuse

  2. Ibrahim

    March 8, 2014 at 6:07 AM

    dat man is wicked u re spanking a som1 child to dat xtend wat if she his own child? child only child nt adult u nid 2 talk 2 her wit motivational&moral impact.wel i dnt blame him its d parent of d girt i d man shld nt go free.bcoz i ve som1 daughter in my house nw d way am taking care of her in terms of her education,health&clothing there wz aday i jokingly asked d girl dat would u go back 2 ur parent hom she said no bcoz u re a dady in milions tymes so wat does it takes 2 b kind 2 som1 child.

  3. Deborah Michael

    March 8, 2014 at 6:16 AM

    what about her father some men are so useless
    hw can u allow a child this small to travel to village all in the name of money

  4. Simon Ochiwu

    March 8, 2014 at 6:49 AM

    I knw dey will allow dat idiot go free bcos of bribe…!!! God will sure intervein.

  5. patoya

    March 8, 2014 at 7:29 AM

    Mr Bayo Suleiman,you’re not worthy to hold a public office with your archaic ideology. So you think this man is right to inflict horrendous injuries on this poor little girl because she defecates on the bed on a regular basis.Have you asked yourself why an 8 year old girl still defecates on her bed? Have you considered that this may be as a result of the physical and emotional distress and abuse she is being put through? Would you treat your own child in this manner to address this same problem? Cast your mind back to when you were 8 years old and imagine how you would have felt if you were in this same position without your parents. You are a complete “ignoramus” (Quoting Zebrudaya)In fact ,the ignorance of some Nigerians is just baffling and unimaginable . Why has that animal been bailed? Should n’t he still be in jail? I pray that all these wicked people get their comeuppance really soon.

  6. some1

    March 8, 2014 at 10:41 AM

    some people are naturally wicked,what if the child is yours,would you have beating her like that all in the name of correction.well know that oneday your own child will also live with someone somehow in way.just be careful the way you treat other people’s children.

  7. Bolaji

    March 8, 2014 at 3:08 PM

    I beliv if de girl hapen 2 b his child he wil neva do such a tin 2 her, he wil rathe tak a more responsible way 2 tak care her, anyway he shold b left 2 face de law 2 teach others a leson, also de child parent shold b arested 2 face law, a law shold b establish dat wil mak it compusary 4 parent 2 care 4 their ofsprings, they a adult, dey no what 2 do 2 care 4 their babes, little child can neva no how 2 care 4 themselves, l remeba when l was smal, l use 2 urinate @ home, & my parent neva crisify me, rada dey counsel me & watch over me whenever l am sleepin 2 ensure dat l do nt urinate @ home . Also my parent were extremly poor, yet dey workharder 2 ensure dat l was takin care of, even cut firewood & sell 2 mak sure l survive, parent shold learn hw 2 b hardworkin & nt 2 b lady 2 b able 2 tak care 4 their children.

  8. tony t

    March 8, 2014 at 3:22 PM

    Oh God look at what this little innocent girl is going though as she did not brought her self to this crazy world…this man you must go to jail for a long time ooooo..there must be law againt all the barbaric act of sending little kid out there for house maid,,,i wish I could give you a home…I w advice all the n.g.o.’s in lagos to try I find how this little girl can be adopted by good people in our society….gob bless

  9. Okoro JC Junior

    March 8, 2014 at 6:53 PM

    * Ds z jst anoda clear xample*
    If you have any relative whos let their child(ren) to be living wit another person, take note. What i saw today is 2pathetic. This two children live with another person but the way they ar being treated z sooo bad. They ar too small dat they cant evn make call to tel their parents wat dey are going thru. Its soo worrying.
    I kno such happens so many places..who knos, that your relatives dt live outside their home maybe going through same thing/ ordeal.
    Pls if u have such ppl, b paying dm visits periodicaly so that u may kno how dey ar doing. U may think dey attend school dea wyl its pure water dey sell on daily bases. Food z almost nil. Sleep @veranda. Do works dat r too hard at their tender age. Carry wat ll retard their growth. Receivs slaps @evry slytst provocation. Sell pure water bt drink unclean well water.
    Its so pathetic.

  10. Ezra Aduh

    March 8, 2014 at 6:54 PM

    I think parents should stop given their children out for training…

  11. Adeyinka p

    March 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Ka le eleyoro lo na,ka to fabo ba adiye,olori buruku aburo were ni man yen,awon omo to bi tabi to ma bi ni future ma je ilopo mewa iya to fi je omo lomo yi

  12. Abidoye Olufunmi

    March 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    Wot a pity, y ur parent wil lik to suffer a little gal lik u..? May God heal u n set u free

  13. Ifeoma Ibeka

    March 8, 2014 at 6:56 PM

    D so called parents esp d mother is heartless n does nt deserve to mother bcos she does nt kn d value of such GIFT. I wen men has started batering house helps, I thought its only women dt does dt. Heartless man, do u think u will marry n ur own children wen u treat another child like dis. ANIMAL.

  14. Isiaka Janet

    March 8, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    Wat a hrtls man u are, can u trt ur own chld ds way? & rmber u dnt knw 2morrow.As 4 d girl i pray God helin hands wil rst on u.

  15. Ochayi

    March 8, 2014 at 6:57 PM

    This little girl should be relief from the hand of that wicked man before he will get her kill , he is heartless, I am suggesting that govt should intervene and saue the life of this little girl,becos the man may pretend 2 be gud be4 her parent.

  16. Odigie Nowinta

    March 8, 2014 at 6:58 PM

    Sum pple dey wicked sha.

  17. Risikatu opeyemi

    March 8, 2014 at 6:59 PM

    Is nt d man’s fault is d stupid usless parent dt submit their child 2 labour were irresponsible wen dey know dt dey cannot takcr of d child y did dey giv birth.shameless moda

  18. Eduvie Donald

    March 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    This is why most families in the US adopt poor kids like this very girl so they would not fall into wrong and evil hands like that demonic man!!!

  19. Onafuye Ade

    March 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Dis is 2. Bad d man is not a human bean

  20. Akinwale Ogunkua

    March 8, 2014 at 7:00 PM

    Parents are guilty of not sending her to school and the “employer” is guilty of child labour and assault occasioning harm.

  21. Emmanuel Stella

    March 8, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    U are a useless man may god punished u

  22. Adeola Ibironke

    March 8, 2014 at 7:01 PM

    Bt dere ar also parents d@ died wen dere children ar still very young,I knw dis girls parents ar 2 be blamed bt dis man is very heartless

  23. Roselyn Rueben

    March 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Hmmmm for me I think d parents shld be blamed for dere selfish interest ad d nt man at all y ll dere ask her to wk at dis tender age may god forgive d man ad change sum of our wicked parents for good

  24. Yetunde a

    March 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    8yr old, dats bad…… child abuse

  25. Shola omotayo

    March 8, 2014 at 7:02 PM

    Why are we not seeing things rightly… is it d fault of d man who abuse d young girl or d fault of d girl parent? dis’re questions to be answer within us. Why given birth to children we can’t catered for? we understand dat things are not easy but d Yoruba’s says dat “awo’lu mate o mo iwon ara ni/cut ur cloth according to ur cloth not according to ur size!” A word dey say is enough d wise. My little angel don’t worry u’ll surely be favoured by God Himself… ‘hard time don’t last but hard people do!’

  26. Kevin g

    March 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Am speechless, my darling sweet daughter I wish God to cleans your tears with crown and joy everlasting and for the oga on top leave him with God cos he see’s

  27. Emeka K

    March 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    oga the same thing is waiting 4 ur children.

  28. Kingsley Raymond

    March 8, 2014 at 7:03 PM

    Give birth to kids U̶̲̥̅̊ can train not to full ur house her parents are fools.for d young man he should face d law

  29. Loveth chukwu

    March 8, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    May God punish dis soul ..may evil nd evil com upon ur life nd ur household…u derserv death …satanic man

  30. Patience Umade

    March 8, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Her arent should be arrested

  31. Ayodeji Abdul

    March 8, 2014 at 7:04 PM

    Alihamidulilahi dat she’s not violated.However,dat’s de result of bad governance whereby a girl of eight who’s supposed to be in primary school,but due to poverty was sent to fend for herself.A pity and sorry state indeed.
    De man involved should be dealt wt according to de law

  32. Okoro JC Junior

    March 8, 2014 at 7:05 PM

    “Everybody z crying now 4crime crime, tel me who & who ar d criminals?”

  33. Kekayo bam bam

    March 8, 2014 at 7:07 PM

    Poor innocent girl, at 8 she still need 2 b pampered bt look at an elderly man old enof 2 b her grndfather enslaving her. May God 4giv him.

  34. Okpala C

    March 8, 2014 at 7:08 PM

    This man is very wicked even her mom send to lagos to go and work.Is that the reason why he shud be doing this.Govt shud do sth pls.

  35. Cynthia

    March 8, 2014 at 8:31 PM

    I blame the parents for this child abuse

  36. benet

    March 9, 2014 at 6:01 PM

    This story is just beginning as the parents of this little child will not let this act go unrewarded. The man has a lot to answer for when her parents are eventually contacted. He will only be let off easily if he is as closely related to her as an uncle, anything short of that is trouble too for him. He deserves what is coming anyway.

  37. red

    March 10, 2014 at 7:57 AM

    Blame Shuaibu all you want,charge him with every written and non written case,curse him out till Satan himself start calling the blood of Jesus for protection,he deserves it and more but please,please,please leave the girl’s mom out of this.For a mom to give out her daughter at that age will tell you she have no hope of feeding her not to talk of school .she want the girl to have a life better than hers,Hear the little girl said she LOVES HER MOM BUT DON’T WANT TO GO BACK TO THE VILLAGE.She was ready to bear the pain from the man than go back to her place that will tell you they have no hope,Mr Shuaibu betrayed the trust,he murdered the care that should be given to this child,he failed God and man.The man is just raw wicked and heartless.Is a pity that some people are blinded with such wicked act and selfishness when dealing with outsiders.The girl that is with my grandma right now came when she was just 9yrs, Today she is 16 and in secondary school.I wish our politicians will come across this story and offer this girl and her family scholarship and the help they need badly.Nobody knows tomorrow.poverty is a deadly disease that kills.Thank God the child was not sexual abused.You are now save my Angel with this publicity.

  38. red

    March 10, 2014 at 8:11 AM

    Bolaji,I refuse to cry about your story and the hardship Nigeria subjected them to.Am very happy that today you Bolaji tells it like a story to teach and help others.Am sure things are better now than then since you are here and telling the story as past tense.Am very proud of your parents and will love to meet them because my beloved grandma went through similar suitation before her kids grew to change her life for better.

  39. chichi

    March 10, 2014 at 1:37 PM

    I don’t think the girl has parents. May be she is an orphan because I don’t think a mother can released her daughter of that age to anybody all in the name of money. what kind of money is that. No, she is an orphan.

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