Confined For Over 5 Years In Misery: How Osun govt, NGO rescued lady abandoned by parents for living with disabilities
… Parent, sibling in police detention
By Ekene Agbor, Osogbo
For over five years, Miss Opeyemi Olatoke has been somewhat abandoned by her parents and siblings owing to her physical disabilities. The pale-looking Opeyemi, aged 20, was said to have been struck with “mysterious disabilities” when she was four years old. Her woes were compounded by the treatment she received from her parents and siblings who decided to place her in confinement.
Upon sighting Opeyemi after being rescued, you can see misery on her face.
Her parents, Prophet and Mrs Samson Olatoke were said to have given up on her before isolating her at their family house, (an old and muddy house) situated at Alfa Fire’s area in Obaagun Street, Ikirun, the headquarters of Ifelodun Local Government Area of Osun State.
The disabled lady was said to have been left in the house all alone while the two entry doors to the house were being put under lock and keys. When News Boom visited the house where Opeyemi was kept, it was dicsovered that there was no electricity supply to the house and the only window that should ventilate the room housing the lady is permanently locked in order to prevent residents from discovering that the house is being inhabited.
News Boom gathered that Opeyemi’s older brother, Elijah Olatoke would visit her to drop food for her. But respite came Opeyemi’s way when a resident of the state contacted a Non-Governmental Organisation in the state, Value Female Network (VFN) through its toll-free rescue line and disclosed to the NGO that a girl was being locked up in a room by her parents for having disabilities.
Speaking, the gender officer of VFN, Adewumi Yagboyaju said upon reception of the information, a rescue team of the NGO swung into action and visited the said house on January 4, 2021.
“When our team got to the house, we discovered that it was locked and we asked around but residents were afraid to reveal to us that there was someone living in the apparently desolated building. We furthered our investigation notwithstanding until we were able to confirm from some traders around that a lady has been confined for some years but people fear to reveal it because, according to them, the father of the girl is being feared.
“After this, we approached the Ministry of Women and Children Affairs to join us in rescuing the physically challenged lady,” Yagboyaju explained.
On Saturday, January 23, 2021, respite came the way of Opeyemi when teams from the ministry of Women and Children Affairs and Value Female Network (VFN) stormed the house and rescued her.
In the company of security agents of the Joint Task Force, Opeyemi’s parents were fetched to open the door for the welfare officers and social workers to behold the condition of the confined lady.
News Boom correspondent who was also in the company of the rescue teams discovered that the room Opeyemi was kept was unkempt and stinking because she defecates and urinates in the same room. Also, there was no ventilation in the dark room.
Opeyemi was rescued and taken to the Osun State Government Hospital, Asubiaro on the orders of the Commissioner for Women Affairs, Hon Olubukola Olaboopo. When the O’Ambulance took the physically challenged lady to the hospital, she was admitted after the intervention of the State Commissioner for Health, Dr Rafiu Isamotu.
Dr Isamotu visited the hospital to see the PWD on Saturday evening and asked that she should be attended to.
However, News Boom gathered that the parents did not only confine the lady because they could not identify with her disabilities in the public, but allegedly kept her for some fetish purposes.
But in a chat with Opeyemi’s father, Prophet Samson Olatoke, the founder of Ileri Ayo Cherubim and Seraphim Church, Ikirun, he said her daughter’s predicament started at the age of 4 and that she was separated from the family because of her disabilities and not for any rumoured ritual purpose.
According to the prophet who lives at another house, Opeyemi was taking to home of the physically challenged in the state but due to the poor condition of the home, she was brought back and confined in the abandoned family house.
“We tried our best to find cure to her disabilities but all to no avail. She can’t walk and also use her right hand. These strange ailments struck her when she was 4 years old,” the father said.
Also speaking, Opeyemi’s mother said her daughter’s disabilities started at the age of 4. She added that Opeyemi suddenly woke up from sleep with a loud scream and ever since that day, she had been unable to walk and use her hands.
“We have tried our best to ensure that Opeyemi becomes normal again. My two shops collapsed in my efforts to ensure that my daughter was healed. It was after all my efforts proved abortive that we took her to the family house. I stay in my son’s house,” the mother narrated.
Meanwhile, Opeyemi’s father and older brother, Elijah Olatoke are cooling their heels in the police custody in Ikirun.
The Police arrested the duo for confining their daughter in a desolated and stinking room without care and attention.
The team from the ministry of Women and Children Affairs of the state confirmed the duo’s arrest to News Boom on Saturday.
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