An Abuja-based couple, Ayo and Khadijat Yahaya, have been arrested by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related offences, NAPTIP, for allegedly burning the private parts of their two-year-old son for eating common moin moin.
The incident happened in the Kuje area of Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory.
The couple would spend the Christmas holidays in the cell, after which they would be arraigned in court on Wednesday, NAPTIP said.
43-year-old mechanic Ayo from Kogi State and his wife Khadijat, 30, were reportedly arrested by NAPTIP’s Rapid Response Squad in the early hours of Saturday after a tip-off.
According to NAPTIP, Ayo’s two-year-old son from his first marriage, which ended less than six months ago, who was usually starved, had sneaked into the kitchen last week and eaten one wrap of moin-moin (beans cake) left in a pot.
He was caught in the act by his stepmother Khadijat, who allegedly brutalised him.
The poor boy allegedly had his hands, buttocks and genitals burnt by his stepmother, acting in concert with her husband.
The NAPTIP Head, Press and Public Relations, Josiah Emerole, has confirmed the arrest.
He said the agency would charge the couple to court after the holidays.
Emerole said, “The boy had faced maltreatment, including starvation, since the father forcefully took him away from his biological mother. The little boy was starved from morning till 2pm on that day and he crawled to the kitchen where he saw some wraps of moin-moin and decided to help himself to one of them.
“For that offence, the woman grabbed the little boy, held his hands and dipped them in boiling water. She also burnt his genitals. The boy’s screams attracted neighbours who came to his rescue, while one of them reported the matter to us.
“He has gone through a successful surgery at a specialist hospital in Abuja through the support of some Good Samaritans.
“The couple are now in NAPTIP’s custody, making useful statements while investigations continue. The Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, has ordered that the suspects will be brought to justice.”