The child pictured above is 3 year old Destiny* a native of Akampka Local Government Area in Cross River State. She lives with her paternal uncle in the village as her parents have moved to the city in order to improve their economic lot. Her uncle was charged with taking good care of her and treating her like his own child.
On the 24th of June, 2018, her uncle, who was supposed to be her guardian and caregiver, tied her to a tree in the family compound and set her on fire. She was rescued by the Child Protection Network in Akamkpa, but only after she had suffered 2nd Degree burns to over 20% of her body. After her rescue, she was brought to the offices of Basic Rights Counsel Initiative (BRCI) who immediately rushed her to the hospital for proper medical care.
At the hospital, the doctors discovered she was severely malnourished, underweight and at risk of further complications. She was unable to stand on her own due to the burns and could barely talk. Further investigations by BRCI revealed that she had repeatedly gone without food and lived in barely human conditions. She slept outdoor on a makeshift bed without proper clothing to wade off the cold.
Her uncle, Mr. Leo Columbus has been arrested and detained and will be arraigned in court after the conclusion of police investigations. When asked why he tied his niece to a tree and set her on fire, he alleged that she was fond of defecating indiscriminately, and he wanted to teach her a lesson.
BRCI has contacted the Cross River State Ministry of Sustainable Development and Social Welfare to inform them about Destiny’s plight and are deploying all available resources to ensure that Destiny gets the justice she deserves.