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Outrage greets stepmother’s starvation, torture of three-year-old girl

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The reality of man’s inhumanity to man, which was first documented in the Robert Burns’ poem called ‘Man Was Made to Mourn: A Dirge in 1784,’ aptly played out in Bauchi.

It was a case of a three-year-old girl, Sumaiya Yakubu, who was starved for months while her ribs and veins were uncovered with flesh.

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The little girl and her five-year-old brother, Abubakar Yakubu, are currently receiving care at Tashan Babiye Primary Health Centre in Bauchi metropolis, Bauchi State, over torture meted on them by their stepmother.

Already, her state has ignited outrage among residents and health workers.

The Guardian gathered that the minors’ biological parents had parted ways while they were left with their father and their stepmother who was allegedly maltreating them.

Their mother, Habiba Sani Khalid, who lives in Bakin Kura area of the Bauchi metropolis, reported the case to the Township Police Division while crying out over the alleged starvation and torture of her two children.

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Khalid told journalists at the hospital that Sumaiya almost died of torture by her stepmother. Apart from starvation, Sumaiya was also beaten with burning firewood several times by her 18-year-old elder half-sister in the presence of the stepmother.

Habiba revealed that the half-sister used to take burning firewood and put it on the girl’s back when she was asked to clean her defecation.

She explained: “The elder half-sister of Sumaiya did that in the presence of her mother and father. That continued until the matter was later exposed.

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“It was their father that later called me on the phone and asked me to come and pick my children. He said if I didn’t carry them, he wouldn’t bother about their plight because he has other children he cares for.

“I declined to go and pick the children. So he eventually sent the girl to me. I realised that she was staggering. She asked me for food. I also saw wounds of beating and burns on her body.

“She was asked what happened to her and she narrated her ordeals. Her relative who also saw the girl’s condition wept and posted her pictures on social media. It went viral and attracted the attention of human rights organisations who came to Bauchi to bring us succour,” she added.

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Also, a human right activist and Executive Director of Syndicate in Supporting Women and Children Initiative (SISWACHI), Hajiya Binta Adamu Ibrahim, said she was called from the NGO’s headquarters in Abuja and asked to take up the matter and ensure the justice is done for the victims.

Binta said the organisation had reported the matter to the township police station in Bauchi, which led to the arrest of the victims’ father, stepmother and the elder half-sister.

The doctor in charge of the treatment of the victims at the hospital, Mark Garba, said when the children were brought, they were malnourished and highly dehydrated, adding, however, that their conditions had grossly improved.
Police Public Relations Officer (PPRO) of Bauchi State command, DSP Ahmed Wakili, confirmed the incident. He said that the culprits had been charged to court.

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