A deaconess with the Living Faith Church popular known as Winners Chapel in Kaduna State, Yemi Awolola, has brutalised a 14-year-old girl with a hot knife and gas lighter in her genital area and is accused of serially abusing her for many months.
Her victim, Princess, who is now in a critical condition at Harmony Hospital in Kaduna, was put in her care after she assured the girl’s financially unstable family that she will enroll her in school.
SaharaReporters gathered that the father of the victim took his daughter to Mrs Awolola’s house in Barnawa Kaduna in June 2019.
Trouble started in December 2019 when Awolola called the victim's father and alleged that the 14-year-old girl was stealing from her.
“He expressed concern because Princess was not known for stealing at home. He asked what she was stealing and the madam said “stuff”. He then asked if she had ever stolen money, and the madam said no.
"So, he told the madam to bring his daughter back to him but she declined and instead asked for his account number, which he sent to her and she sent him N10,000. She reiterated to him that the money was not because Princess was staying with her but she usually give out donations during Christmas,” a social worker familiar with the situation said.
Unsettled by the development combined with his inability to speak to his daughter many weeks after that despite his insistence, Princess’ father sent his wife to go and retrieve their daughter back to their village in Kuturah, Kajuru Local Government Area.
On getting to Awolola’s house in Barnawa area of Kaduna State, Princess' mother was refused entry and denied access to see her daughter.
The mother however, persisted after which she was shown her daughter from a distance but was not allowed to touch or speak to.
“She was asked to also drop the chicken and grain she brought as a gift with the security men at Mrs Awolola’s gate,” the source added.
This left Princess’ family worried, causing them to repeatedly call Awolola to return their daughter.
“The madam kept telling him she was in Abuja. So, the family gave an ultimatum to have their daughter back by 6pm last Wednesday or they would call the police.
“The girl was brought to them on Wednesday at 6pm in Sabo area of Kaduna State and it was then the family realised what their daughter had been going through. She had scars on her face after Awolola burnt it with a hot knife. She had burn wounds in her genital area from when the woman's two children, Nifemi and Tito, held the girl's leg while the madam used lighter to burn her vagina and buttocks,” she said.
Recounting her traumatic ordeal, Princess in an interview said, ”She always beats me. She recently called my father to come and take me away and that same day, she ensured that she beat me and I had a big wound.
“Every time she beats me, I have various wounds all over my body. Even if I am not feeling well, she forces me to work not minding that my hands are paining me from the injury she inflicted on them.
“On Monday, she beat me again and then used a hot knife to burn my face. She told her children to hold me down because I was screaming from the pain.
“She continued to press the knife against my face and then moved to my feet and then she left me alone and said I should go and take my bath. After I took my bath, she continued beating me. By then my face and legs were severely swollen.
“She then brought out an ice block from the fridge and started to press it against the sore wounds. She would always beat me like that and prevent my family from seeing me because of the wounds I had.”
SaharaReporters also gathered that in the 13 months that Princess lived with the Awololas, she was only allowed to go to school for one week after which she was banned when the madam reportedly found a carrot in her bag, which she had taken to school to eat because she was hungry.
She was also beaten mercilessly over the incident.
The police arrested Awolola on Friday while the family of the 14-year-old victim appealed to well-meaning Nigerians to ensure that justice was served in the matter and that their daughter’s abuser was not let off the hook.