The Kaduna State Ministry of Human Services and Social Development on Wednesday handed over Janet Audu to her biological father, a 14-year-old housemaid who had been scarred with a hot water, by her mistress son Yusuf Marcus.
But the hearing of the case continues tomorrow (Thursday) at Magistrate Court 1 by Ibrahim Taiwo road, where the prosecuting team is expected to call two additional witnesses over the development.
About three months ago, the young Janet while doing other house chores had allegedly burnt her mistress’ soup which angered her 14-year-old son who then bathe the maid with hot water as a way of expressing his dissatisfaction leading to serious bodily injuries on the girl.
It was gathered that both the son, Yusuf Marcus (first respondent and a minor) and his mother, Luthi Marcus (second respondent) have been earlier granted bail after they pleaded not guilty to three count charges level against them. The bail still stands.
The three-count charges levelled against them are cruelty to a person, causing bodily harm without provocation and abatement of the offender as captured in sections 207, 221 and 54 of the Penal Code of Kaduna State.
Handing over the girl to her father, Commissioner, Human Services and Social Development, Hafsat Mohammed-Baba said, the handing over became necessary after the father had approached a court and the girl has been stabilised after her ministry took her custody from NAPTIP a few weeks ago.
‘We did the official handing over of the girl to her biological father after spending a few weeks with us so we could stabilise her. We are happy to see her back to normal and this is the responsibility of the government,’ she said.
‘We have a law in place to protect our children. So, handing her over to her parent does not mean the case will not continue.
‘The case is now between the government and perpetrators including a former commissioner, Maria Dogo who was involved in the trafficking of the child. We are charging her for child trafficking and child labour.
‘There is no problem with all the sponsored propaganda and backlash against us and all. We have done what we know God is happy with without minding those published distractions. The court case will continue,’ she said.
The representative of the Human Rights Committee of the Nigerian Bar Association, Barnawa Branch, Kaduna, Barr Bukola Ajao, told journalists outside the Court’ Chamber that, the girl was released to her father after she was cross-examined.
‘Today, the matter relating to one Janet Audu that was burnt by one Luthsi Marcus and her son came up for hearing. The girl was in court to testify. She was cross-examined.
‘The case is now adjourned till tomorrow for further hearing because the police still have about two witnesses they will call.
‘Immediately after the court session, the handing over of Janet to her father this morning was necessitated as Janet’s father approached the court that he wants the custody of his daughter. That does not mean the case has ended. The case continues because the court gave two days for the hearing,’ she said.
The father of the girl, Audu Malenge, thanked the Kaduna State Government, the federation of women layers and other interest groups and individuals who are pursuing justice for her daughter.
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