A 35-year-old welder, Mr. Oluwafemi Abiodun, has been arrested by policemen attached to the Airport Police Station, Murtala Mohammed International Airport (MMIA), Lagos, for allegedly breaking the head of his 13-year-old apprentice with a padlock.
Abiodun was alleged to have broken the head of Rasaq Alimi’s head with a padlock, after the boy allegedly tipped a bottle of N200 worth of honey, thus making the honey to pour away. The boy has, however, denied touching the bottle of honey, let alone tipping it to fall and pour.
After breaking his apprentice’s head, Abiodun allegedly ordered him to continue with his welding work, while blood ran down his bleeding head, into his eyes and body.
A passer-by, Mr Sunday Oyeniyi, saw the crying, working and bleeding lad and couldn’t stomach it.
Oyeniyi took up the matter and ensured that Abiodun was dragged to the police.
It was learnt that when Abiodun noticed that the bottled honey was on the ground and pouring, he went straight to where Rasaq was standing and slammed a padlock on his head.
Oyeniyi described Abiodun as a cruel and wicked person.
“A friend and I were coming from Ajayi Farm, at Ikeja along, when we saw the little boy soaked in blood. We quickly rushed to assist him; we noticed that his boss, who was with him, didn’t show a tinge of concern. We approached the boy and questioned him on what happened to him. He pointed to his master, who was busy working. He said that his master used an object to hit him.
“We approached his master and to our surprise, he told us that he didn’t notice the blood. We reported the matter to Rapid Response Squad Police (RRS) station at the area, to intervene. Abiodun was ordered by the policemen to take the boy to the hospital for treatment.
“The following day, we went back to the workshop, to check on the boy. We were shocked to discover that he had not been treated. The master claimed that in their family, they were not allowed to take injections. He said that was the reason he didn’t take the boy to hospital after the RRS men left. In order to get justice for the boy, we took him to the hospital. We then reported the matter at Airport Police Station. The master was thereafter arrested and detained for further questioning about the whereabouts of the boy’s parents.”
The malnourished and dirty looking Rasaq said that was not the first time his master would beat and inflict injury on him.
“I was not the person that broke the bottle of honey. I noticed that the bottle was already on the ground and tried to lift it up. That was when my master accused me of licking his honey. He used a padlock to hit me on the head. I have been an apprentice at the shop, learning how to fabricate gates and some other things since January 2017. I have not seen my father since 2017′.
“The last time I spoke with my father was when he had an accident. I spoke to him through one of my seniors’ phone at the workshop. After that, I have not spoken with him. My father has also not been calling me. Since my father handed me over to my master, it is my master who has been taking care of me.”
Abiodun said that he only hit Rasaq’s head with a padlock just to warn him to desist from such an act. He said that he never meant to injure the lad.
“I beat him out of annoyance. I didn’t ask him to refund the N200, which I spent in buying the honey. I kept the honey away from him and his colleagues at the workshop. I knew they might want to lick it. But I was surprised when I saw him licking the honey. I beat him, just to correct him. I didn’t know he was injured. If I had known, I would have taken him to the hospital before the arrival of the policemen. I cannot punish another person’s son, because I have my own. I have learnt my lesson. I’m begging his father to forgive and take me out of the police cell where I am being detained.”
Rasaq’s father, Mr. Adebayo Alimi, who said that he was separated from the boy’s mother, explained that he took Rasaq to the workshop to learn welding work and was not pleased to discover that Abiodun had been abusing his son.
“I’m not a wicked father. I brought him to the workshop to prepare him ahead of life challenges. I knew he is still a young boy. I always send his feeding allowances to his master monthly. I stopped the monthly allowance after I had an accident. I couldn’t work anymore. My elder and younger sisters used to go to the workshop to check on him. I thank everyone who assisted him; God will protect their own children.”