Emem was one of the children picked on the streets of Eket during a campaign tour by the Ministry of Women Affairs, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and related matters (NAPTIP), and Child Protection Network (CPN).
This child was handed over to the CRARN personnel for care and reunification. Effort to locate the parents and initiate reconciliation was not only difficult, it did not yield any dividends as the girl was giving different stories and locations out of fear of going back to her parents.
But the light beamed one day as she confided in one of the children in the center her reasons for not revealing her father's location so her friend divulged it to a caregiver.
Her reasons included long term starvation in the churches in the name of fasting, rejection by friends in the school, torture by her father and stepmother ( who's also a prophetess.)
She said she roved different prayer houses for more than a year without going to school. She narrated her ordeal in the hands of a prophet who kept her standing in the nights till daybreak so that she would not be called out to the coven. Anytime she slept off she would be brutalized with belts and sticks.
When she could not bear the brunt of the beatings any longer, she sneaked out of the church and ran away. Since then, she's been roaming the streets and sleeping in the bush or uncompleted buildings with other street children . She said when her father met her one day, he rained curses on her and prayed that she dies soon.
Today, her father is here in the Centre signing documents to accept her back home.