A 12-year-old boy has revealed in chilling details, the horror of the series of tortures he received in the hands of his guardian called Mama Sarah. The boy, Michael Madagwu, a primary 1 pupil, said his ordeal started after his father died and his granny handed him over to Mama Sarah in the village.
Madagwu said that he thought a better life waited for him in Lagos with Mama Sarah.But all he received was hawking and receiving all sorts of bodily harm.
Madagwu, who is now in the protective custody of Lagos State Child Protection Unit recalled in vivid detail, the day his guardian ruthlessly, slashed his body with razor. His words: “Mama Sarah used to beat and denied me food at the slightest provocation. She could use slippers, wire and any object to beat me. She had bitten me on my back and slapped my face several times.
When her beating became too much for me, I told her that she should take me back to the village; I didn’t want to live with her anymore. I told one of our neighbours at Obalende, where we sell, but the woman told Mama Sarah.
When we got home at Oshodi that night, she used rope to tie my legs and hands. She used razor to slash my body. She called me a thief and made me to kneel down.
She said that I should carry a big stone on my head. She used pepper to rub into my eyes and forced me to eat pepper. She used wire to flog me mercilessly all over my body and on my face. I can’t talk properly now because my mouth is swollen.”
The Lagos State Child Protection Unit where Madagwu is being cared for had already invited Mama Sarah to come and explain why the boy has several injuries on his body. The boy said his father died when he was just five-year-old.
A closer look at his body reveals scars he claimed were inflicted on him by his guardian. His young body bore bruises, teeth marks, broken teeth, swollen hands and mouth. Madagwu said he had been living with Mama Sarah for close to eight years since she took him from his grandmother.
The 12-year-old would have died from the torture he constantly received in his guardian’s house, but for the incessant interventions of a neighbour, Mr. Ik Odo.
When Odo couldn’t stomach seeing the boy being tortured anymore, he reported Mama Sarah to Mr. Musbau Agbodimu, a human right activist in Lagos. While attempting to speak through his swollen mouth and missing teeth, Madagwu said he hadn’t eaten for days and feels pains all over his body.
Remembering the genesis of his troubles, Madagwu said: “My grandmother called Mama Sarah to take me to live with her in Lagos after my father died. I have been living with Mama Sarah since I was five years old, but she didn’t allow me to go to school. She kept me at home and made me to sell kerosene. But last year, she enrolled me into a primary school after Mr. Odo, our neighbour intervened.”
The boy said on the fateful day the woman pounced on him with razor he waited until she was asleep and ran away from home.
His words: “I ran away from our home at Oshodi and slept under the Oshodi Bridge.
The next day, I begged people for money and I boarded a vehicle going to Obalende, from there I trekked to the Bar Beach Market to look for help, to escape from her. She got information that I was at the market and came there. She dragged me home and started beating me all over again. She locked me up in the toilet until Mr. Odo and other neighbours came to my rescue.”
Odo, who reported Madagwu’s abuse to the human rights group, said he was infuriated by the boy’s plight and decided to report the matter to the appropriate authority. Odo said: “Mama Sarah and her family are very mean to Michael. I’ve known the boy since he was five-year-old, but life had been cruel to him because of the people he lives with. They don’t love him. They beat him mercilessly.
Efforts to get her to change towards the boy didn’t work. Mama Sarah gave him heavy tables to carry and made him sit in front of the road to sell kerosene from morning till night.
“There was a day she battered the boy so much that the neighbours had to report her to the police. She went to the station, told the police that Michael was a thief and the police allowed her to go.
Michael too had gone to report her to the police for torturing him, but police sent him away without investigating his complaints. I took the bold step to report her because she locked him up in the toilet after beating him mercilessly. I don’t want her to kill the boy.” Mr. Agbodemu condemned the torture Madagwu had been subjected to.
He called for the arrest and prosecution of the persons who inflicted injuries on the boy. He said: “I took Michael and together with Mr. Odo, we reported the child abuse to the Lagos State Government.
He is with the state government Child Protection Unit. We have served the woman, he alleged to be the one who inflicted the bruises on him an invitation letter to appear before the Unit to explain herself. Nobody should inflict such wounds on another human being.”