The Lagos State Police Command has arrested a man, Mr. Olanrewaju Bakare, for allegedly brutalising a 15-year-old girl, identified only as Alaba.
PUNCH reports that the victim had been taken by her parents to Ibadan, Oyo State, to live with her aunt, who shortly afterwards took her to stay with Bakare and his family on Lowa Estate, in the Ikorodu area of Lagos State.
Bakare was said to have promised to take care of the victim for the time he would serve his family, adding that he would send her to a vocational centre.
The suspect was alleged to have reneged on the promise.
It was learnt that on April 24, 2017, some neighbours heard the cry of the teenager and intervened.
A neighbour, who did not want to be identified, said, “She started living with the man and his wife not quite long; but we always heard her cry. When she started crying again this time, we intervened and asked what happened.
“She said the man used a part of a disused tyre to flog her for eating her meal with a piece of meat after he asked her not to. She said he became angry and hit her, which made her to sustain injuries on different parts of her body.”
The neighbour said residents alerted officials of the Office of the Public Defender in Ita Elewa, Ikorodu.
An official of the OPD, who did not want to be identified, said on receipt of the information, the agency alerted the police to join in the rescue of the victim.
He said, “Preliminary investigation showed that the girl’s mother took her to live with her aunt in Ibadan. She didn’t stay long with the aunt before she was taken to live with this couple who had two children.
“They promised to take her to a vocational school where she would learn hairdressing, but they never did. Things turned out worse for Alaba, as she was always being abused and maltreated by Mr. Lanre (Bakare). She was rescued by neighbours who heard her cry on the day she was flogged with part of a disused tyre.”
The Director of OPD, Mrs. Olubukola Salami, lauded the cooperation of members of the public in the arrest of the suspect.
She said, “We will continue to resist child abuse and child labour in Lagos State. I appeal to residents to continue to blow the whistle on their neighbours who are violating the law. This way, the society will be better for it.”
The state Police Public Relations Officer, ASP Olarinde Famous-Cole, could not be reached for comment as of the time of filing this report.
Photos: Punch/Samson Folarin