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Emaciated boy chained by father, not stepmother, and in Nigeria

A meme with two photos – one of a severely malnourished child with a padlocked chain around his neck and the other of a police officer carrying the child – is circulating on Facebook in Kenya.

The text reads: “This is how step mother did to some ones son. If u have your original mum, say God protect my mama.”

The disturbing photos have sparked anger from Facebook users. But was the boy abused by his stepmother? We checked.

Original photos from 2016

A Google reverse image search of the photos led us to Nigerian news articles about a boy rescued by a Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corp (NSCDC) police officer.

The photos appeared online in a 23 January 2016 report on the Nigeria-based PM News.

Child chained up by pastor father

The report says the emaciated boy was then nine years old. He was rescued by NSCDC officers after they found him chained and starved at a church in Ogun state in Nigeria.

According to the Premium Times, the police said the boy “was chained by the neck to a heavy log of wood in a room for more than one month”. 

Ogun State Police Command spokesperson Muyiwa Adejobi told journalists that the child had been chained up by his biological father as a punishment for stealing. 

The father was a pastor in the church and was, at the time of the interview, on the run. 

Father arrested

The boy’s father was later arrested after a tip off.

The BBC reported that state police officers said the boy's father admitted keeping him in chains, believing he was “possessed”. – Grace Gichuhi


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