Father, Stepmother starve, abuse 5 sons

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A couple, Mr Uche and Mrs Peace Mbonu, have been arrested and handed over to the police for alleged child abuse, starvation and refusal to provide necessaries for their five underaged boys in the Osumenyi community, Nnewi South Local Government Area of Anambra State.

The arrest was carried out by the security operatives of the Nnewi South LGA before they were handed over to the police through the state Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo.

This was made known on Saturday in a statement by the media aide to the commissioner, Chidimma Ikeanyionwu.

Ikeanyionwu said the couple claimed they were infuriated because the kids were fond of eating raw rice.

The statement read, “On why they starved the kids, the couple denied the allegation and stated in their defence that the kids are always in the habit of eating raw rice, which makes them infuriated.

“While pleading for pardon, the couple said that they always feed the kids but that the children prefer eating raw rice, which they don’t know where they picked up the behaviour from.

“On his part, the oldest of the kids, Chigbo Mbonu, revealed that Peace Mbonu is his father’s third wife, and ever since she came into their family, they have faced a lot of untold hardship.

“Chigbo Mbonu, who is currently 17 years old, said that they feed once a day for the days their stepmother will give them food but rely on raw rice and palm kernel after hunger must have greatly dealt with them.

“He went ahead to explain that he, at some point, stopped schooling because he helps his father in his block industry. He noted that he moulds blocks with four bags of cement on a bad day and six bags on normal days.

“Further physical examination of the children by the Women Affairs commissioner showed that they have been greatly starved and in need of medical care.

“It is important to note that Mr Uche Mbonu has married two wives before finally settling with the third one Peace Mbonu, who was his sales girl, and that the kids are all product of his previous marriages.

“According to the security operatives who helped in apprehending the culprits, they explained that after they got the husband, his wife Peace ran to Nnewi, her maternal home to hide before they eventually apprehended her too.”

While reacting to the development, the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Ify Obinabo, condemned the act and stated that the state government will continue to ensure that child labour, abuse and all forms of maltreatment are reduced to the barest minimum.

The couple has since been handed over to the police for further investigation, after which the matter will be charged to court.

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