Four children who were separated from their mother and locked up by their aunt for nine months have been rescued by the Anambra State Ministry of Women and Social Welfare and security operatives.
It was reported that the rescue operation took place on Friday at Worliwor community in Onitsha, following a complaint by the mother, Chinenye Orajiaka.
The mother said that her husband, Izuchukwu Orajiaka, took the children away from her when they were living in Lagos and sent them to his sister, Ndidi Orajiaka, who allegedly maltreated them and denied her access to them.
She said she had been searching for her children until she came to the ministry for help, according to the story which was first reported by PUNCH Online.
The ministry officials said that the children were found in a room under lock and key, which made it hard to rescue them.
They said that the children were happy to see their mother and begged to be taken away from their aunt.
They also said that the aunt denied abusing the children and claimed that they were lazy and did not take care of themselves.
The Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, condemned the cruelty inflicted on the children and said that the government would not tolerate such behaviour.
She also said that the children’s welfare was a priority for the administration and warned anyone who was involved in child abuse to stop or face the law.
The children said that they had not been going to school for nine months and had been doing all the housework for their aunt.
They said that they had to fetch water from far away and wash their aunt’s clothes.
They also said that they ate their breakfast late.
The aunt and the father of the children have been ordered to report to the ministry on Tuesday for further action.