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Lagos moves stranded 15-year-old mum to shelter, after PUNCH report

Afeez Hanafi

Fatima, a teenage mum stranded at the Lagos University Teaching Hospital, Idi-Araba a month after giving birth, has been discharged after a good Samaritan paid N53,000 bill she owed the hospital.

She was said to have been moved to a shelter approved by the state government pending when she would be reunited with her parents in Cotonou, Benin Republic.

Saturday PUNCH had reported that the 15-year-old girl worked as a home help for a woman identified as Iya Kamoru in the Mushin area of the state and was defiled by an unknown man sometime last year when she slept outside at night.

It resulted in a pregnancy.

She went to labour in October and Iya Kamoru was said to have taken her to LUTH where she had a normal birth.

The hospital waved about N151,000 medical bills she reportedly incurred but insisted that a bill of N53,000 meant for feeding must be paid before she could be discharged.

Fatima, who was brought from Cotonou when she was eight years old, also said she did not want to return to Iya Kamoru’s house.

 The Coordinator, Advocates for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network, Mr Ebenezer Omejalile, who is following up the case, told our correspondent that Fatimah had been discharged.

He said, “The (Saturday PUNCH) report drew a lot of attention to the girl. Someone paid her bills. She was moved out of LUTH on Wednesday and taken to a government-approved shelter pending when her family will be found. NAPTIP is already on the matter, trying to track the traffickers.”

Meanwhile, Iya Kamoru, who identified herself only as Folake, has said that Fatima was not defiled in her house.

She claimed to have helped her after she ran away from a woman in the Lawanson area, who engaged her as a home help.

Folake explained, “She was loitering about when I saw her. I followed her to the woman’s house and she said she no longer needed her. I called a man, Dele, who normally brings us home helps and introduced the girl to her. I told her I didn’t have money to pay her. She agreed and said she wanted to learn hairdressing.

“On December 18, 2019, a woman came to our house and Fatima said she knew her. The woman said she would travel to Cotonou in January 2020 and I asked her to follow the woman. I later knew the woman took her to another family in Ikotun to work.

“She came back on January 25 and told me they were maltreating her. I informed Dele about it. She was defiled in the woman’s house.  The mistake she made was that she didn’t tell the woman so that they would find a solution to it.”

Folake said she found out that the girl was pregnant in March after a test was carried out.

She added, “I took her somewhere and she was living there till she went into labour. I took her to LUTH and deposited the only N3,000 I had on me. I told the nurses that I didn’t have money and that I only helped her.”

Source: punchng.com