A thirteen-year-old girl, Precious Udu, who was  taken from Obudu in northern Cross River State  to Calabar to work as a house maid, has allegedly been bathed  with hot water severely burning her neck, shoulder and chest even as she was not allowed  to attend school by her mistress.

Precious said sometime in 2012, one Amaman approached her mother and appealed that her sister residing in Calabar needed somebody to stay with her and that  she should  allow Precious to be taken to Calabar to serve as housemaid  to the sister.

“When my mother accepted, Sister Amaman then said I had to stay with an acquaintance for her to study my character and, if she approved of my behaviour, I would then be taken to Calabar and I stayed with her for about three months before my intending mistress came and took me to Calabar”.

The victim said when they  got to Calabar, she asked her mistress  to seek for  admission for her in a  public secondary school but the mistress refused insisting that her son whom Precious was brought to take care of  was still  small, so Precious should continue to take him to school and bring him back to home.   “I was attending Girls Secondary School Obudu and I was in JSS 1 even when I was with her acquaintance, she allowed me to go to school but my mistress said because of Junior, her son, I could not  attend school.”

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The distraught girl said whenever her mistress’ husband returned  to Port-Harcourt where he works,  she would be subjected to maltreatment by the mistress and her younger brother, who would beat her and  refuse her food making her  to run out of the house to stay with neighbours.

“And anytime I ran  out to stay with neighbours, my mistress  would come knocking to ask  ‘if the  little girl staying with her  was in their place and if they said yes, she would take me back to the house; even when I said she should take me back  to my mother”.

This continued until March 9 when Precious  said, “I unplugged hot water from the socket and was turning it into the drinking  bucket when my mistress’  brother said the water touched him and went and brought a bowl and took the  hot water I was turning and poured it on my face but I dodged and the water poured on my shoulder and neck”.

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She said when she told  her mistress, she did nothing. “It was Tuesday when the place had started peeling that she gave me two tablets of Panadol and the landlady rubbed some jell on the wound. My mistress did not give me food but asked me to eat eba that had gone bad  with maggots in it but I refused  to eat and stayed  hungry that day”.

She said nothing was done about  the wound and she continued doing her chores until   Thursday  March  14.“When I went to fetch  water from the borehole that some neighbours saw me and screamed and one of them took me to the General Hospital”.

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At the General Hospital, a  nurse, who identified herself as Alice, and a social worker called Barrister James Ibor, a child rights activist, intervened .”We have written to the  Cross River State Commissioner of Police to arrest  the mistress and the brother to face the law because what they have done amounts to felony”, Ibor said.

He said what they did by taking the girl from her mother in Obudu to Calabar to serve as house maid is human trafficking.

Precious, the activist  said, was living in an orphanage pending when she could be taken back to her parents after her wound had healed.


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