Officials of the Oyo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion have rescued a seven-year-old girl who has been a victim of physical abuse, torture and assault by her father.
The victim’s father, Happiness Bassey, was arrested in Ibadan, the Oyo State capital following a report received by the ministry’s Rapid Response Rescue Team on Sexual, Gender-Based Violence and Child Abuse.
While briefing reporters on the incident, the Commissioner for the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Inclusion, Faosat Sanni, described the incident as inhuman treatment of an innocent child.
She said, “We received a report of the incident through a social media handle of someone living in that community on our Rapid Response Rescue Team media platform that one Mr Happiness Bassey (the biological father of the young girl) who lived at No 20, Joseph Ayantoye Street, Inu koko, Ashi, Bodija, Ibadan, allegedly abused and inflicted injuries on his seven-year-old daughter who as a result, has scars and bruises all over her body.”
“It was also reported that the father who works as a security man with an undisclosed outfit constantly torture the child for reasons yet to be explained and we also learned that the mother of the child who is also the wife has travelled to their village in Akwa Ibom State to give birth to another child and left the victim with her father who subjected the girl to abuse and instructed the poor girl to always tell anyone who asked about the marks and bruises on her body that she fell, as a cover-up story to his evil act,” the commissioner added.
She noted that Bassey has been detained at the Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Protection Unit of the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) in Oyo.
Sanni added that the victim has been taken to a hospital for medical examination and treatment.
She explained that the ministry has made adequate provision for alternative care and support for the child and making efforts to contact her mother for details about the family.
According to the commissioner, abuses are acts that hurt children and negatively impact on their development and wellbeing.
She decried the high rate of such immoral acts, stressing that women and children were the major victims in the state because they were the most vulnerable.
Sanni stated that the state government has zero-tolerance for all forms of sexual and gender-based violence.
She, however, assured the residents that all hands were on deck to fight and deal with perpetrators and called on the people to always report such persons to the relevant authorities for quick action.