A 28-year-old woman identified as Mary Mathew has been arrested by the men of the Ondo State Police Command for child abuse.
The suspect allegedly caged her four-year-old foster daughter inside the bush for over five months at Imafon Village in Akure South Local Government Area of Ondo State.
Mary said she ‘quarantined’ the young girl identified as Precious Michael when she suspected that the girl was possessed with witchcraft and also suspected that the four-year-old girl must have been infected with HIV, which reportedly killed her mother last year
The suspect was said to be a relative of the girl’s late mother and brought the little girl to Imafon in December 2015 after the death of her mother.
Parading the suspect at the headquarters of the command in Akure on Thursday, the state Commissioner of Police, Mrs. Hilda Harrison, said the suspect was arrested following a tip off.
While Mary was paraded, her husband was not, but the police boss said both of them were in their custody.
The commissioner said, “Mary Mathew and her husband alleged that the girl was possessed and thus decided to lock her outside the house. On receipt of the information, personnel attached to Juvenile Welfare Centre of the police command visited the scene and met the girl in the cage as reported.
“She (the girl) was immediately rescued and taken to police clinic for medical attention, while the suspects are under interrogation and will soon be charged to court “
Harrison added that the victim would be taken to the state welfare home of the Ondo State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare.
Also speaking, the police officer at the JWC of the command, Mrs. Olayemi Ojumu (ASP), who led the team that rescued the girl, told our correspondent that Precious had actually tested negative for HIV.
Mary, a farmer and indigene of Enugu State, said she only confined the victim to a corner in her shop.
She said she confined the four-year-old in the morning and released her in the evening whenever she came back from the farm.