A 32-year-old woman identified as Funmilayo Oladepo has embarked on a solo protest in Magboro area of Ogun state seeking Punch Newspaper’s intervention with justice on the case of her five-year-old daughter, Enioluwa, who was allegedly tortured by her uncle’s wife.
The 32-year-old mother who is also deaf wrote in a placard her protest reading:
“PUNCH, please help me. I need spirited human rights activists to look into my matter. The suffering meted out to me and my child by an uncle and the lot of them is too much. Deaf or not, I am a bonafide Nigerian and I have rights.”
Running to hear her story, Punch reported that a phone belonging to her cousin, Ladipo Ganikale, got missing on Tuesday at their family house on Fehintola Street, Olota, off Ekoro Road, in the Abule Egba area of Lagos State.
Funmilayo, who reportedly returned home after she had gone to buy a loaf of bread was meted with an accusation that she stole the phone hence, was ordered to produce it.
While the argument of who stole the phone lingered, the wife of the uncle allegedly seized Oladepo’s daughter, flogged her with a cane, while Funmilayo was held by Ladipo.
According to Funmilayo, an Osun State indigene, her daughter was allegedly tortured the more as she refused to claim responsibility for the missing phone. She said that her uncle’s wife held her five-year-old daughter by the clothes and assaulted her.
However, Funmilayo said she had reported the case at the Meiran Police Division, but she claimed to have been ignored by them.
She said, “The incident happened on September 12, 2017. I had finished cleaning the house when my daughter said she wanted to eat. I went to the bus stop to get a loaf of bread for her.
“My phone was down due to low battery, so I decided to borrow a charger at the bus stop. After charging the phone for a few minutes, I put it on and saw a message from my uncle about a missing phone.
“I quickly rushed home and met my cousin in the passageway. I protested that they treated me as if I stole the phone, but he pounced on me. His wife, mother and father joined hands in beating me as well.”
“She grabbed her by the clothes in the neck and started hitting her. She said, ‘Tell your mummy to bring my phone or I will kill you.’ My daughter begged, but she didn’t listen.
“Her husband went to get a cane, which he gave to his wife to beat my daughter.
“Iya Ladipo dragged my daughter on the floor all the way to her shop while beating her. In order to save my daughter, I lied that I was the one that took the phone.
“When she stopped beating her, I pleaded that I did not know anything about the missing phone. She started beating my daughter again,” she added.
Funmilayo said she had let go of one of her two phones for peace to reign after her uncle’s family searched her property without no trace of the phone. She said after dropping her two phones, they still wouldn’t stay put but insist on searching for the missing phone.
Funmilayo noted that tenants who witnessed the torture as it lasted wouldn’t want to intervene for the fear of being evicted from the house.
“I went in search of my daughter; lo and behold, she was asked to ‘stool down’ with only a finger. If she staggered, Iya Ladipo would flog her. I almost fainted at the sight and ran to report to the police at the Meiran division,” she added.
The victim said the police wouldn’t attend to her on time, insisting that they had other cases they were handling.
However, she said after they hesitantly followed her to the house, they discovered that her daughter had been locked up in a room.
Funmilayo alleged that her uncle gave the policemen “something” to stop the arrest of his wife, as Ladipo, their son, fled the house.
“My uncle followed us to the station. After waiting for hours at the station, their boss called my uncle to his office,”. Funmi also alleged that her uncle had given the Policeman “something” to stop the arrest of his wife.
She said she had barely spent a week in the house when the allegation of phone theft brought up against her, leading to her child’s torture.
“I have suffered so much pain and agony, and I don’t want my daughter to go through the same experience. I don’t want anything to affect her education. She is all I have left and she is innocent. I need Nigerians and human rights activists to come to my rescue,” she said.
Funmilayo’s uncle, Rafiu, who denied the allegations against his family, said that Funmilayo had become “a thorn in the flesh of everybody.”
Rafiu added, “Funmilayo is a useless girl. She is my niece, but she is useless. She cannot go to any police station, she would be chased away. When her grandma was alive, she almost strangled the old woman and that was the reason she was chased out of the family house. She fights with everybody in the house. She cannot go back to her father’s house because she once beat up her father and stepmother. We all are tired of her.
“Her late mother had paid for her final secondary school exams without knowing she had become pregnant and had gone for an abortion. It was the drugs she was given while trying to save her life that blocked her ears. She had been wandering around ever since then.
“She, however, came home recently and stole the two phones of my child while the boy was charging them. When the boy challenged her, she bit him. The bruises you saw on her mouth were probably from the boy’s retaliation.
“She went and lied to the police that she went to buy a loaf of bread for her daughter at Agege when the phones went missing, whereas she actually went to sell the phones. Nobody beat her child. She is a pretender and has created a lot of chaos. She once brought a human rights activist to the house and even slapped the woman, who withdrew from her case. She has been a useless girl and I don’t want to see her again.”