‘He gave me tablets for abortion’
Fourteen-year-old Daniella wrung her hands nervously, looking down at the foot mat in the car in which she shared her story with our correspondent.
The strange place became necessary because she was only willing to share her story away from the earshot of her step-father, 37-year-old Francis Okezie.
Few days before, a neighbour had alerted child rights activists to the plight of Daniella over a suspicious bleeding she once noticed on the girl.
The neighbour was said to have asked Okezie about it but he simply explained it away as nothing.
When Daniella started speaking, the series of allegations she made were like bombs wrapped in words.
Okezie lives in a one-bedroomed apartment with Daniella and his own six-year-old biological daughter, a girl he had with Daniella’s mother.
When she started speaking, her words came out with trepidation.
Daniella refers to Okezie as “my dad” even though she told our correspondent that she knew that he was not her biological father.
She said, “My dad started sleeping with me in 2014. The day he started, my mother was not around that day. She was in church during a fasting and prayer programme. I was at home, so I was not in church with her.
“My mother was the one cooking for church members when they break their fast daily. I always told him I did not want to do that and he would leave me sometimes. Other times, he would still force me when I beg him to leave me alone. He said if I told anybody, I would die. I sleep on the bed while my dad and sister sleep on the floor.”