A teenage girl buried her newborn baby alive a few minutes after delivery in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State.
The girl, identified as Bright, 18, apparently did not want the baby after giving birth, had to bury her in a shallow grave she dug in a garden inside a sprawling compound in Ifa Ikot Okpon community, Uyo Local Government Area of the State.
Bright who is living with her parents in a rented house inside the compound said she did not know she was pregnant until the moment she gave birth.
“My body was paining me. All of a sudden, I now fell here (pointing at the garden where she buried the baby), and I saw a baby coming out of my body. I started crying,” she said, sobbing.
“The baby was dead. I was unconscious. I dug a small place to keep the baby until my mother comes back, so I can show her,” she added.
When asked if she didn’t take the baby inside the house and if she could sleep where the baby was buried, she responded, “I didn’t know what to do. I was in shock when I gave birth. There was no one to tell me what to do.”
In the garden where the baby was buried, there was a white piece of cloth stained with blood discarded at the edge of the tiny grave. Near it, there was a leaf from a plantain tree, which Bright had used to cover the baby while inside the grave.
Two people who witnessed the incident faulted Bright’s claim that the baby was already dead before she buried it.
A co-tenant in the compound, Matthew, said the baby was still alive before Bright buried it.
“The baby was crying,” he said. Besides, Matthew said Bright dug the grave a previous day, not on the day she gave birth.
A midwife, Elizabeth Okon, who lives in the community, corroborated Matthew’s claim that the baby was still alive before it was buried.
She said a man who is the caretaker of the compound got attracted by the baby’s cry and called to inform her (the midwife) about the incident.
Okon said, because she was among the first responders, she took the baby out of the grave, cleaned her up a bit, and hurried to the roadside to take her to the hospital.
“Keke (commercial tricycle riders) refused to collect the old naira notes, and that kept us for several hours on the road until the baby eventually died,” she said.
“I had examined the baby before then, it was still breathing,” she added.
As of 2:30 p.m., the baby’s corpse was still kept in the compound which belongs to the late village head of the community. By then, curious residents had gathered in front of the gate because of the incident.
‘Didn’t know she was pregnant’ – Girl’s father. Bright’s father, Mr Ekpenyong, disclosed that his daughter ran away from home a few days ago when he and his wife suspected she was pregnant when they wanted to take her out for a checkup.
When asked Bright to respond to her father’s claim, she said she went to a church to look for a midwife who could help her with the pregnancy, clearly contradicting her earlier claim that she was unaware she was pregnant until the very moment she gave birth.
Bright said a man named Ezekiel, who lives in the community, was responsible for the pregnancy. She said her parents had been seeing the boy whenever he visited her.
Effiong said he and his wife were unaware that their daughter was pregnant until some three days ago or so.
“It was on Sunday that I suspected she was pregnant. I noticed the changes in her body. She told me and the mum that there was nothing wrong with her,” said Mr Effiong, who said he works as a labourer on a farm.
Bright’s mother was not available in the compound when our reporter visited, she was said to have gone to work.
Police spokesperson in Akwa Ibom, Odiko Macdon, said he had not yet been briefed about the incident and, therefore, would not comment on it.
“It’s a crime. Nobody has the right to bury somebody alive, even if it’s a child. That is if it is true,” he said.