Security operatives led by officials of the Anambra State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare have rescued four children forcefully taken away from their mother and kept under lock and key for nine months.
This was disclosed to journalists in a press statement on Saturday by Chidinma Ikeanyionwu, media aide to the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo.
The children were rescued on Friday, at Worliwor community in Onitsha after their mother, Chinenye Orajiaka, complained to the ministry.
Orajiaka had alleged that her sister-in-law, Ndidi Orajiaka, forcefully took her children into custody and refused her access to them, after separation from her husband.
The statement added that when security operatives stormed the location, the children were found in a room under lock and key, which made rescue efforts difficult.
The statement read, “According to the complainant, the whole issue started when her husband, Izuchukwu Orajiaka, separated from her and took the children away while they were still in Lagos.
“She noted that since then, she had been going around looking for her four children without knowing that they had been sent to live with her sister-in-law who had been maltreating them for nine months.
“She explained that all efforts to get her children had not been fruitful until she came to the ministry and got results.
“The ministry officials revealed that the culprit had kept the children under lock and key which made it difficult for security officers to rescue them. When the officials and security operatives got to the place, the kids were excited to see their mother and pleaded that they be taken away from there.
“Meanwhile the culprit denied maltreating the children and said they only look unkempt because they are lazy.”
Speaking immediately after receiving the children, the Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, decried the extent of wickedness meted out on the children, considering how “unkempt and malnourished they looked”.
She reminded ndị Anambra that the current administration abhors rascality and prioritises the affairs of children, calling on everyone who has in one way or another been involved in maltreating children to desist forthwith or face the consequences.
Meanwhile, the rescued children, on their part, noted that since they started living with their auntie they had not been going to school for nine months and have been the ones doing all the domestic chores in the house.
They explained that they ate their breakfast late and that their major work was fetching water from a long distance and washing clothes belonging to their auntie.
The culprit, alongside the father of the children, has been mandated to report to the ministry on Tuesday for further action.(Punch)