PUNCH Metrolearnt that Okorie, who is in Junior Secondary School 1, also worked as a sales assistant for Abasi, who sold cloth materials in the Oyingbo Market. It was gathered that last Monday when schools resumed, Okorie told Abasi that he would need to buy a pair of socks for school. The trader allegedly ignored the boy until Thursday when a neighbour, identified only as Usman, gave Okorie N100 to buy the pair of socks. It was gathered that when Abasi learnt that the boy had collected money from Usman to buy the pair of socks, she became angry and beat up the boy. The 12-year-old was said to have ran to the kitchen during the flogging. Abasi allegedly grabbed an electric kettle of boiling water and emptied it on the boy.
The matter was reported at the FESTAC Police Division and the trader was arrested. It was gathered that the matter was also reported to the Lagos State Domestic and Sexual Violence Response Team, and a temporary shelter was provided for the boy, where he also received medical attention.
Speaking with PUNCH Metro, Okorie, who hails from Enugu State, said he was forced to collect the N100 from Usman because he had no other option. He said:
“I told madam (Abasi) last Monday that I needed to buy a pair of socks for school. My teachers would seize my sandals without it. But she did not buy them, and I went to collect money from our neighbour. “When she saw the pair of socks, she became angry and started to beat me. I ran into the kitchen. That was where she grabbed the electric kettle and poured the content ─ hot water ─ on me. It was around 7pm on Thursday.”
The trader, however, told PUNCH Metro that she did not deliberately brutalise the boy, adding that everyone knew she treated Okorie like her son. She said:
“On Monday, pupils resumed school, and Chinedu (Okorie) told me he needed a pair of socks and I said I would buy them for him. Unfortunately, when I came back, I forgot. Later, our neighbour said Chinedu collected N100 from him to buy the pair of socks. I was angry. I queried him and warned him against the behaviour. On Thursday, I gave him N100 to buy another pair of socks. When he came back, he told me he used the money for something else. So, I beat him up. There were times when I gave him N1,000 to go and buy fuel. He would spend three hours and later say he misplaced the money. So, I disciplined him on Thursday. “He ran into the kitchen, and that was when I mistakenly poured the water on him. I sell clothes at the Oyingbo Market. He is my domestic help. I brought him from his village in Enugu State about four years ago. The boy is stubborn. I am not a bad woman.”
The Lagos State Police Public Relations Officer, SP Dolapo Badmos, confirmed the arrest, adding that the suspect would be charged to court. She said, “The suspect has been arrested, and she will be charged to court.”