*Abia First Lady flies her to Lagos for possible surgery; describes suspect as barbaric
*Diagnosis reveals extensive throat, stomach damage
By Steve Oko
Wife of Abia State Governor, Dr. Mrs. Nkechi Ikpeazu, has personally taken over the treatment of 10-year old maid, little Miss Ifunaya Ede whose Mistress, Mrs. Esther David allegedly forced to drink hot water mixed with pepper as punishment for breaking a plate.
The victim hails from Enugu State while the suspect whose husband is said to be based abroad, is from Imo State but lives in Umuahia, Abia State capital.
She was said to have got married early last year, and is into fashion & design as well as catering services.
Miss Ifunaya was said to be a victim of serial child abuse but the latest incident happened when she allegedly broke a plate in the course of her domestic chores, and her mistress decided to force her to drink hot water as punishment.
The mistress was said to have mixed pepper with hot water and forced the maid to drink, an allegation she flatly denied, claiming that hot water accidentally poured on the maid while carrying out her duty in the house.
Following injuries the maid sustained, the mistress was said to have secretly taken her to a chemist for treatment.
But suspecting some foul play considering the severity of the injury, the chemist declined from handling the case and referred her to the hospital.
When the truth eventually surfaced on how the maid sustained the life-threatening injury, the police were involved to interrogate the mistress who was said to have allegedly started making plans to leave the country.
As the pathetic video of the abused maid went viral, the attention of the Governor’s wife was drawn to the incident and she also waded in.
The Abia First Lady who paid an unscheduled visit to the hospital ward where Ifunaya was initially admitted, expressed shock at the horrific injuries on the body of the child.
She described the action of the mistress as “very inhumane and barbaric”.
According to a release by the Chief Press Secretary to the Governor’s wife, Mr. Chika Ojiegbe, medical investigations revealed that the girl had allegedly been victimised for more than a year.
The First Lady who has directed her personal physician to join the medical team battling to save the life of the maid, also vowed to ensure the poor girl got justice.
“When I saw the pictures of the injuries on the girl I immediately reached out to the Commissioner of police, Mrs Janet Agbede. She assured me that the perpetrator will be charged to court.
“I also directed the State Action Committee Against Gender Based Violence to follow up on the case and work with stakeholders including FIDA, Child Protection Network, NAPTIP and others and ensure things are done right.
“I am certain that justice will be gotten to serve as deterrent to others who are in habit of viciously maltreating our children.
“I came to the hospital to see things for myself and I am indeed shocked at the brutality, barbarism and the viciousness of the attacks on the little girl.
“I have directed my personal physician to join the medical team handling the girl’s care while we are also getting throat specialists and surgeons to look at her.
“I have made some donations towards her care and upkeep and I will also pick up her medical bills at the end of the treatment.
“I have met with her parents and expressed my sympathies with them.
“However, it is important that we emphasize here that parents should take care of their biological children and stop trafficking out children to people who do not appreciate or value life. Give birth to your child and care for them.
“Do not have more children than you can adequately train.”
Meanwhile, latest diagnosis has revealed that Ifunanya has oesophageal and pyloric stenosis ( extensive damage in the throat and stomach), thus making it difficult for food to enter her stomach.
She has only been taking fluids according to hospital source.
The victim is also said to have been inflicted with many injuries including a broken collar-bone, which was sustained when her mistress allegedly threw her down on the ground and viciously stepped on her neck, shoulder, and chest.
But the mistress denied inflicting any injuries on the maid or ever abusing her, explaining that the injury on her back was sustained when she accidentally fell in the house.
Determined to get the best medical attention for the victim, the Abia First Lady had directed that the little girl be flown to Abuja for continued management and possible corrective surgeries.
But Saturday Vanguard gathered that due to the severity of the damage in her digestive system, the victim had been referred to the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH, where she will undergo surgeries.
“At the moment the survivor, Ifunanya Edeh, is undergoing treatment. She was flown to Abuja for assessment and has been referred to Lagos University Teaching Hospital for possible surgery.
“Wife of Governor Abia state is determined to give the young girl a normal life”, Ojiegbe told Saturday Vanguard.
Meanwhile, the suspect has been remanded in the custody of the Correctional Centre as Justice KCJ Okereke of the Abia State High Court turned down her bail application.
Justice Okereke, a vacation Judge delivered his ruling on the ball application on September 30, while the matter will be re-assigned by the State Chief Judge.