Members of the Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network (ACVPN) have condemned the release of a physical abuse child to her father, termed as “uncaring.” gathered that it was not only child rights activists that condemned the release of the child, identified as Victory to her father, members of their community in Lakwe were also not happy with the move.

According to the operating officer of ACVPN, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, the abuse was initially reported to ACVPN on the 12th of April 2022. It was gathered that Victory’s father could not cater for her and her late elder sister, who allegedly died at the hands of their father.

Omejalile said: “Victory’s father couldn’t cater for her and her late elder sister who died in the hands of her father. Victory was handed over to her father’s elder sister who lives in Warri Delta State. The father’s elder sister transferred Victory to her own biological daughter who resides in Lagos. Victory suffered all manner of humiliation in the hands of her cousin called Evidence. Most times, Victory was subjected to several torture, starvation, and bodily injuries. The 11th of April 2022 was a day to always remember because that was the day Victory was physically tortured with a hot knife and burnt with hot iron by her elder cousin for taking N100 from the POS sales to buy food because she was hungry.”

It was also gathered that ACVPN Comrade Harmony Tache was alerted of the case, and she rescued Victory. Harmony took her to the closest police station where the case was incidented and a medical report was issued to Harmony to treat Victory.

Omejalile explained: “The perpetrator was never arrested to date. The case was transferred to the Gender Anti-Human Trafficking Unit SCID PANTI because of public outcry but was rejected since the perpetrator was not arrested. Rather Victory was handed over to Harmony with an issued police extract to cater for her while a manhunt was ongoing in order to apprehend the perpetrator and to date, nothing has happened. Victory got better and fully recovered. During her stay with Comrade Harmony Tache, ACVPN contacted the Child Protection Unit Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development MYSD Alausa Ikeja several times so that she could be placed in a government-approved shelter. Victory ended up spending two months at Comrade Harmony Tache. It took several calls and written letters back and forth before Victory was taken over by the Child Protection Unit Lagos Ministry of Youth and Social development MYSD ALAUSA IKEJA. Just yesterday the angry community members threw tantrums at our officer that she went behind and released Victory back to her irresponsible father despite the cousin who inflicted several injuries on Victory was not arrested. Harmony was almost beaten up. It took the efforts of the community head who waded into the matter to correct the erroneous assumption about Harmony. It was not Harmony who should be blamed but the Child Protection Unit Lagos Ministry of Youth and Social Development MYSD Alausa Ikeja. It’s on record that Victory’s father and family members tried to induce Harmony Tache, Comrade Lolade Ajayi and myself but we turned down their offer. We demanded that the Perpetrator should be produced. It was just yesterday we heard about several insinuations that ACVPN released Victory back to her abusive family. Everyone should take note of this that ACVPN was never contacted likewise informed by the child protection Unit Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development MYSD Alausa Ikeja regarding Victory’s release even though we spent a fortune in ensuring Victory recovered from the injuries she suffered in the hands of her cousin, Evidence, whom the family claimed she’s at large till date. We deserve to know when Victory was released after all if we hadn’t called the attention of the child protection Unit MYSD Alausa they wouldn’t have known about her case. It’s even worrisome that the general slogan which stated that Victims/Survivors should not be taken back nor released back to the abusive environment was contravened.  The report has it that Victory was left on her own to fend for herself and her late sister as a result of their father who remarried and turned a blind eye to Victory and her late sister’s wellbeing.”

Omejalile also stated: “Victory’s father stated in pigin language, ‘Oga I no go fit take care of Victory and her sister nahim make me give am to my senior Sister. I know no say my sister go transfer victory to her daughter.’ He further mentioned that whenever he called his niece Victory’s elder cousin to ask about Victory’s well-being the impression his daughter gave him was that she was fine, unknowingly to him that Victory was passing through hell. ACVPN is making It clear we are not in competition with anybody, rather we complement the efforts of both Government Agencies and Non-State Actors efforts to avert further collateral damages. Our partners should therefore note that ACVPN members live within the community where these issues occurred, and the community believed the victim of the heinous crime could get justice. In the end, turned out the way Victory was returned to her abusive environment is totally unacceptable. Despite we rebuffed so many advances of gratifications offered us rather we demanded justice. It’s very heartbreaking to hear that Victory is back to square one.”

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