By, MOHAMMED KAWU, Bauchi
A divorcee of Bakin Kura Area of the Bauchi metropoli, Habiba Sani Khalid has cried out over alleged starvation and torture of her two children by their step mother.
She alleged that one of the children, a three-year-old girl Sumaiya Yakubu almost died of torture by her step mother.
Habiba was speaking to journalists at Tashan Babiye Hospital, Bauchi where her ‘maltreated children’ are receiving medical attention.
She explained that the step mother starves the duo, beats them unnecessarily while the three-year old girl was being punished with fire by her 18-year old elder half-sister in the presence of the step mother.
According to her, the elder half-sister used to take lit firewood and put it on the girl’s back when she was asked to clean her after defecation.
The step mother, she revealed, often beats both Sumaiya and her 5-year old brother Abubakar Yakubu indiscriminately even as she denied them food as at when due.
“The elder half-sister of Sumaiya did that in the presence of her mother and father. That has continued until the matter was later exposed”, Habiba cried fault.
“It was their father that later called me on phone and asked me to come and pick my children. He said, if I didn’t carry them, he wouldn’t bother about their plight because he has other children he cares for”, she narrated the ordeal.
Habiba added, “I declined to go and pick the children, so he eventually sent the girl to me. I realized that she was staggering. She asked me for food. I also saw wounds of beating and burns on her body”.
“She was asked what happened to her and she narrated her ordeals. Her relative who also saw the girl’s condition wept and posted her pictures on social media. It went viral and attracted the attention of human rights organizations who came to Bauchi to bring us succor”. Habiba stated.
Also responding, a human right activist and executive director of Syndicate in Supporting Women and Children Initiative (SISWACHI) Hajiya Binta Adamu Ibrahim said she was called from their headquarters in Abuja and asked to intervene in the matter to ensure justice is done for the victims.
Hajiya Binta said that their organization has been dealing with sexual and gender based violence cases uncovering however that this torture case was odd.
Binta stated that as part of their response, the organization reported the matter to township police station, Bauchi which arrested the father, step mother and the elder half-sister of the victims.
The initiative director noted that the torture on the children were severe and the organization deemed it necessary to bring them to Tashan Babiye hospital for medical attention.
The children, she submitted, almost looked as skeletons due to malnutrition before succor was brought to them by the organization.
The doctor in charge of the treatment of the victims at the hospital, Mark A. Garba recalled that when the children were brought, they were malnourished, highly dehydrated, but their conditions have now clearly improved.
The Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Bauchi state Command, DSP Ahmed Wakili confirmed the incident, saying the culprits have been charged to court.