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Thursday, 1 October 2015

Drama in Lagos as mentally-challenged woman gives birth to a baby boy; Names him after Lagos state Governor, Ambode


 Swaddled in a warm blanket, he slept in all innocence beside his mother, unaware of all the noise and commotion going on around him on 3rd Floor, Ward 3A of the Island Maternity Lagos. Though just days old, Baby Ambode, named after the Lagos State governor might be the most popular toddler on the bloc. Since he was brought to the facility alongside his mother by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA), all attention had been fixed on him to ensure his survival.

Ironically, cute and cuddly as he looks, the fate of this adorable baby boy hangs in the balance, as his mother is a mentally-unstable woman who roamed the streets of Lagos. Safe for the timely intervention of a Good Samaritan, Uju Aniagboso, an occupant of the house where he was delivered of his mother, maybe he might have died at birth or stolen by evil, unscrupulous persons.

The only thing the mother of the new born could utter audibly about herself, was her name, Tope Alabi, and the only information she could volunteer about her background was that she hailed from Abeokuta.

At the moment, she is delirious but sane enough to look out for her son, and darts suspicious eyes at anyone that dares to come within an air breathe to her baby.

Sun Newspaper correspondent gathered that like an arrow, Tope’s desperate cry for help pierced through the stillness of the night, rudely jolting residents of Bornu Way, Ebute Meta from their sleep. With inquisitiveness hanging thickly in the air, residents peeped out of their homes to find out the source of the agonising sound, only to behold a pregnant, mad woman, who had been known to roam the area in the throes of labour pains. With the woman frantically calling on residents not to let her die, the area was thrown into panic as women quickly rallied round, forming a protective barrier to provide privacy.

According to Uju Aniagboso, the young lady that immediately came to the rescue of the mentally- challenged woman, she heard her cry at about 1am and when she peeped out of her apartment, she was shocked to see the woman writhing in pain. She immediately came out of her apartment and brought her to a shield by her house. With the labour progressing and her cry attracting more good-spirited people, including her landlady, Uju disclosed that Baby Ambode finally arrived at about 4 am.

“Immediately the baby arrived, his cord was cut by a woman selling akara (fried bean cake) on the street and he was immediately cleaned up. I rushed inside to get some of my elder sister’s baby’s clothes and towels, sanitary pad and boiled water for her bath. I also made hot tea for her and gave her bread, while my landlady brought one of her clothes for the woman,” she narrated.

With the placenta taking so long to come out, a concerned Uju immediately said she called the Lagos State Emergency number, and within a short time, an ambulance driven by officials of the Lagos State Emergency Agency (LASEMA) arrived the scene, and moved both mother and baby to the Lagos State Island Maternity hospital.

Uju noted that although she knew nothing about the mentally-challenged woman, aside the information she had about her being a regular face in the neighbourhood, she was quite unsettled about their wellbeing and so visited the hospital, which was a stone throw from her office with a friend immediately she got to work the next day.

Uju said she was however, appalled when the nurses on duty told her that the woman needed several things, including baby formula and wondered what had happened to the money donated by some Good Samaritans and which was given to the LASEMA officials that responded to her distress call. Despite being shocked by the information, the young lady went to procure the things needed by Tope and Baby Ambode.

According to her, “I was surprised when they said the woman needed provisions, pad, baby food and other things. I recall bringing out N2, 000; my landlady brought N1, 000 and another woman who was crying that she had been believing God for a baby also brought N1, 000. This is aside the N100, N500 and other smaller denominations brought by other Good Samaritans.

The nurses on duty told me they had to borrow baby formula from other patients. I was very unhappy about this development. ”
Money for baby Ambode lost in transit

Wanting to know what happened to the money donated for the upkeep of the mentally-challenged woman, and not wanting to believe that such money could actually be taken by any individual, Uju said she went to inquire from the Emergency Unit about the person that actually received the woman and her baby from the LASEMA officials, and was told that the nurse on duty had mentioned the money but did not remit it for the patient’s upkeep.

With a mild drama ensuing over who collected the money, the matter was reported to the Head of Department (HOD), Nursing Department, who swung into action, insisting the money must be located for the wellbeing of the patients. After much buck-passing, N3,000 was produced by the matron in-charge of the unit, pending when the nurse who received Tope and her baby resumed for duty. Later investigations by the head matron revealed that the money actually handed over to the hospital by officials of LASEMA was only N3, 000, and they were at a loss as to what happened to the rest of the money donated for the upkeep of the mentally-challenged woman and her son.

For Uju, the Good Samaritan, Tope’s mental state was enough for anyone to capitalise on and dispose her of her child, hence she wanted to ensure that the baby was not taken away, and not disconnected from her mother and possibly sold to the ‘highest bidder.’

Her fears, which might not seem unfounded, made the reporter to inquire about the fate that awaited Baby Ambode, if he were finally discharged from the health facility.

At the office of the Medical Director, Dr. A.O. Sholanke, the reporter was repeatedly told he was not available after several attempts. She was later directed to the office of Dr. Femi Omololu, Director of Clinical Services and Training, but was also told he too was not available.

At the Heart-to-Heart Centre, a social welfare department run by the Lagos State Government, an official who spoke on condition of anonymity disclosed that once Tope recovered and was stable, she would be interrogated to know where she actually came from. But should she still show any sign of mental illness, the baby might be taken from her to a shelter run by the state for his safety. The mother, he disclosed, would be taken to a centre for psychotic patients.

“We would try and see if we can locate her people. It is either her people come to pick her or she would be confined to a centre for treatment. As for the child, we assure you that he would be well taken care of by the state government where other kids like him are presently being housed,” the official said.

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