* Victim’s leg broken, eye partially blinded
* We used to spend the night at the door outside — 4 Yr old victim
* Her husband cut me with razor blade — 7 Yr old victim
An Ilorin based magistrate, Maryam Dupe Qudus-Olawale has been indicted in the assault, child battery and cruelty to two minors aged 7 and 4 respectively, INSIDER NG investigations has revealed.
Findings by this medium revealed that the victims, Muslimat Akeem,7, and Jumai Akeem, 4, are both daughters of the magistrate’s younger sister, Bilikis Kehinde who also resides with the magistrate.
INSIDER NG’s findings revealed that on the 4th of June, 2021, a neighbor under the cover of anonymity alerted the Kwara State command of the NSCDC of the incessant child battery and cruelty.
Investigations further revealed that both the victims and their mother confessed to the NSCDC that Magistrate Dupe Qudus and her husband, whom they referred to as “big mummy” and “big Daddy” respectively were responsible for their injury as they often beat them and, at times, locked them outside to sleep on the bare floor as a form of punishment whenever they’re deemed to have offended.
NSCDC, FAMILY COVER-UP
In a twist however, NSCDC who had hitherto invited the accused magistrate, who refused to honour the invite for more than 40 days, blanked out her involvement and that of her husband, choosing to prosecute the mother of the victims instead.
According to the court papers exclusively obtained by INSIDER NG charging Bilikis Kehinde (mother of the victims) to court for the offence, the charge sheet signed by Bode Silas,
Ajide Peter Kehinde and Stephen Tsado, all lawyers with the Kwara State command of the NSCDC, reads: “Complaint brought pursuant to section 174(1) of the constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 1999 as amended and under the inherent jurisdiction of this honourable court.
“Between Attorney General of the Federation and Bilikis Kehinde (Defendant).
“CRUELTY TO CHILDREN CAUSING GRIEVOUS HURT contrary to SECTIONS 238 and 241 PUNISHABLE UNDER SECTIONS 238 and 245 OF THE PENAL CODE LAW AND CHILD ABUSE, CONTRARY TO THE RIGHT TO DIGNITY OF THE CHILD AS ENSHRINED IN THE SECTION 11 OF THE CHILD RIGHT ACT 2003.
“That on the 4th of June, 2021 at about 1100 hours, based on a tipoff, the Anti-human trafficking Unit swung into action by rescuing two children at Irewolede Estate namely Muslimat Akeem and Jumai Akeem who were brutally wounded by their parent.
“Investigation conducted into the alleged offences by the anti-human trafficking unit of the Corps revealed that both the Children minor 7 and 4 years old respectively were living in the home of one Magistrate where they were maltreated by their mother to the extent of excessive flogging of the children with broken legs, injured eyes and with several body scars.
“Further investigation revealed that on the day the children were rescued, the eldest one Muslimat was beaten, her hand swollen, eye swollen and blocked with blood and several cut in her body and they were both left to sleep outside the house till the next day without medical attention and the risk of danger outside considering the security situation in the Country.
“You have thereby committed the above stated offence, contrary to and punishable under the sections earlier mentioned.”
FIDA KICKS, ALLEGES NSCDC OF SHIELDING DUPE QUDUS
The Kwara State Branch of the International Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA) frowned at the disposition of the NSCDC over the case, which they described as “selective justice” because of the kind of personality involved.
“We want to know why the NSCDC decided to charge only the mother of the battered children and not the Magistrate that was actually accused of battery,” Anthonia Erinfolami-Daniel, FIDA’s Legal Aid Committee Secretary in Kwara State said.
She added, “NSCDC only arraigned the mother of the victims in court whereas the Magistrate who had perpetrated the act, according to the children and mother, was spared.”
Upon insistence, the NSCDC would later invite FIDA for a ‘peaceful settlement meeting’ between the family and the legal non-governmental organization to internally resolve the issue without the court proceedings.
Balikis Kehinde, the mother, was also coerced into silence over the issue because the Magistrate is her ‘benefactor’, accommodating her as a single parent.
Erinfolami-Daniel, who suspected foul play, maintained that her organization was interested in ensuring that perpetrators of wrongdoings are brought to book regardless of their societal rankings.
“Our position is that the Magistrate should be made to face the law and if she is ever found guilty, she should be appropriately punished.
“We understand that this is not the first time the minors are subjected to similar harsh treatment and are sometimes made to sleep outside when they do wrong in the house. It is dangerous to treat children of seven and four years like this,” she said.
It was further learnt that the two children, Muslimat and her younger sister, Jumai Akeem, are currently at the Children Reception Centre, a government facility in Ilorin, the capital of Kwara, because they were scared of returning to the Magistrate’s house.
INSIDER NG’s investigations revealed that the victims had been subject to years of torture, cruelty to the chagrin of neighbors.
When this medium visited the Irewolede Estate abode of the magistrate, neighbors who spoke with our reporters on condition of anonymity decried the inhuman treatment the magistrate, her husband and the victim’s mother subjects the minor to.
Speaking our correspondent, a neighbor said: “I have never seen where this kind of cruelty is meted to children not to even talk of one’s children, regardless of the supposed offence, this kind of punishment of cutting minors with blade, blinding of the eye etc is to me the highest level of cruelty against minor.
“This has been on for a very longtime, neighbors and residents have just been minding their own business, but I can assure you, everybody living in this axis of the estate are aware of what’s going on.”
Another resident of the Estate who simply identified herself as Ms. Orelope said it was impossible for the Magistrate and her husband to feign ignorance of what is happening to children under their custody.
In her words, “Both the children and their mother are living uunder the custody of Magistrate Dupe. So, assuming she claims she is not the one abusing and maltreating the kids, would she claim she didn’t know what those innocent children are passing through right under her roof. And if she does, what step has she taken to ensure the abuses stop?”
Efforts to reach Magistrate Dupe Qudus proved abortive as the several calls made to her phone failed to connect.