The Police Command in Ondo State on Thursday said it has rescued a four-year-old girl who was caged like a “mad dog” in a kiosk at a local community in Akure, the Ondo State capital.
The girl, identified by the police, was rescued by the personnel attached to the Juvenile Welfare Centre (JVC) of the command.
SaharaReporters learned that the little girl was a pupil of Temiloluwa Nursery and Primary School located at Imafon axis of Akure North Local Government Area (LGA) of Ondo State.
Hilda Ibifuro-Harrison, the Ondo State Police Commissioner, disclosed these details to journalists from her office in Akure. She also confirmed that the police arrested the culprit.
Mrs. Ibifuro-Harrison gave the name of the culprit as Mary Matthew, a woman who is a foster parent of the victim.
She stated that Mrs. Matthew and her husband alleged that the young girl was possessed and that they needed to lock her outside of their apartment.
"On receipt of the information, personnel attached to Juvenile Welfare Centre (JVC) visited the scene and met the girl in the cage as reported.
"She [the young girl] was immediately rescued and taken to the Police Clinic for proper medical attention.
"The culprit was paraded at the Ondo State Police Headquarters Command on Igbatoro road in Akure," the police boss said.
The young girl spoke with journalists and narrated how she was severely abused in the care of her foster parents.
She disclosed that all efforts to run away from her foster family failed because she was afraid of being killed.
"This wicked woman [Mary] always tied me on my hands and forced me inside the cage while she flogged me with a horse whip every day," the little girl said.
The culprit, Mary Matthew, who is a local farmer, however, denied mistreating the little girl and alleged her of being a witch.
Mrs. Matthew, who hails from Enugu State, told reporters that she was a younger sister to the young girl’s late mother.
She disclosed that since the death of the girl’s biological parents she had been the one responsible for her upbringing.
The girl’s parents reportedly died from complications due to AIDS, according to statements made to the media.
"I didn't put her in any cage. The place I locked her is my small shop and I always put her in the place anytime am going to the farm for cultivation," she claimed.
The Police Command has promised to further investigate the matter and threatened to charge the culprit with her husband to the court.