Life of a nine year old maid

A town with no law, there is no sin there –  so goes a Yoruba proverb.

Precious Chinwedu, a nine year old girl who received boiling hot water bath as a punishment for allegedly stolen crayfish is another reminder that there must be a system where children is protected by law of the land beyond  cheap court fine.

The story goes that Precious arrived in Lagos July last year from Imo state to be a live in maid for Madam Mbakwe who has a seven month old baby in Lagos.

I suppose part of the deal was that Precious be educated as she is in primary 3. This story is sad on many levels. Who sends a nine-year old child away to work as a maid? How much work can a nine-year old girl who goes to school during the day can actually do to help Madam Mbakwa?

From experience arrangement like this is quite common in Nigeria, however it often happens with family member or someone related in one way or the other but in Precious’ there was no mention of her being relation of Madam Mbakwa.

This is why rule exists to protect children so no adults be it their parents or outside of home can have absolute power over them.

A neighbour testifies to Mbakwa’s cruelty towards Precious – “If any of the neighbours gave her food, she would beat her. We talked to her several times to stop beating the girl, but she refused. I was not at home on the day the incident happened, she did not allow anybody to intervene,”

Looking at the sorry photo of Mbakwa online, one can not rule out possibility of postpartum depression. I know this is rarely a ‘thing’ to take seriously in Naija but yet it is a very serious issue affecting many new mothers the world over -this in anyway does not excuse the treatment she gave to her employee.

I only wish parents from small towns have just enough number of children they are able to look after. Sending children to live outside of home as employee when they are still children themselves is never the best option, rarely in the child’s best interest.

Precious talked about wanting to go back to her parents, I hope the law enforcement officer on her case at least make this happen for the poor child.



Categories: Education, Nigeria, Women

Tags: ,

19 replies

  1. I hadn’t realised the injuries were so extensive (whatever she did, the torture was prolonged). Mbakwa clearly delights in inflicting pain on those who can’t fight back. If she didn’t like the girl, why not arrange to send her home straight away? What happened to the husband, why didn’t he ‘open his mouth’ and speak up?
    She obviously needs counseling, pity the husband should he ‘trip up’. Who knows what ‘punishment’ she may inflict on him?

    Precious really needs a lot of physical and emotional care to be restored.

    Families should really know about their duties and responsibilities to their members.

    Like

    • Oh yeah. And the neighbours knew about it but can only talk, all is out of their hands especially with a child from out of town – Lagos is crazy like that, neighbours had no idea where to go even if they wanted to help. To get police out sometime, one need a ‘dash’

      Yes, I thought people will follow the link if they really wanted to read the gory bits – it is sad. I suspect Mbakwa had some problem, I know some parents can be cruel in the way they inflict pains put to pour hot water on a child, that is just out of it.

      You see that the court fine her 200k naira – that is the problem, the court always fine without any follow up, I pray the other agency get the child back to her parents.

      Like

      • If you can see the child is visibly suffering, I would ‘dash’ the police some money, if only to stop the pain of the child. To look the other way, is simply not right in my opinion. Sometimes, one has to stick one’s head above the parapet for a ‘greater good’.

        For sure Mbakwa needs to be monitored, she is clearly a threat.

        Precious must be allowed to recover in addition to being returned to her family.

        Liked by 1 person

        • You are right. I think this is the attitude that must be adopted and even encouraged. In most of the child abuse cases I’ve read in Lagos (at least they get attention here) neighbours always testified. I must say that things can be a bit tricky in Nigeria as often times perpetrators get released quickly when money exchanged hands leaving the ‘Samaritans’ exposed

          Like

  2. I don’t have the words to describe my feelings…How can a 9yr old serve as a house girl!!! Of course i am aware of this terrible practice in our society but this story reminds me of this sad truth in such a vivid manner. Who is speaking for these girls? Nobody really except for a few people like you…this is a serious matter that needs urgent attention. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for reading.
      That house girl mentality for a child is just insane! It is easy to blame poverty but I think it is more of poverty of the mind than economic one. Where I am from, even the poorest live together so easier to bear the misery as a unit.

      I think it should be socially unacceptable to use child maid – Lagos state tends to be better with social services (from the news at least) Let’s hope they found a way to clamp down on child abuse be it from parents or bosses.

      Like

  3. It’s so unfortunate really and it is poverty that drives folks to farm their young children out to others. Some humans are sorry specimens of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. This is a heart breaking story, Fola. I’m glad you’re shining a light on it. Every bit helps.
    Leslie

    Liked by 1 person

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  1. An endangered Specie – femininematerz

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