BY USMAN MOHAMMED, MAY 23, 2022, 11:45 PM
It was Monday, and Bintu had just given birth. But the baby is not going into the warm embrace of his father.
Birth is ordinarily a joyous moment and the climax of this is normally the seventh day; but Bintu, a displaced woman living in Doron Baga IDP camp, had hers with mixed feelings—for her, it is a reminder of everything that did not go well with her.
The baby’s father, who is supposed to be the poster boy of the day, is out of this supposed celebration.
The seventh day, in most Muslim homes, comes with anticipations of what name the child will bear, which is followed by a lot of merry popped out of slaughtering of a sacrificial ram.
It is normally largely the prerogative of the father to give, or at least suggest the name, in an ideal state; but this boy’s father would not be playing this or any of his other fatherly roles.
The question is even whether he knew he had a new baby.
Perhaps he would go for one of those who would not care, even if he knew, as he probably may have had many of them scattered in places where he spreads his ‘dirt’.
Laying on the bare floor of her ten-by-eight feet polythene tent, inside which nobody is left in doubt of the overwhelming heat, about 40 degrees Celsius according to a specialized clock, Bintu is dead sure that her day-old child (as at the time of YERWA EXPRESS NEWS’ visit), who is her fourth, would not enjoy these ‘privileges’.
The fourth child is unlucky in many ways; but ultimately because his father is actually a ‘nobody’.
Even the mother only remember him as someone with whom she had ‘bartered’ N5, 000 with sex, one-off!
The money, for whose reason dignity was sacrificed, was to meet some of what she described as ‘pressing needs’.
But the result of what is an obvious ‘mistake’, is, for her, a fourth child, who she will now have to cater for alone.
Nobody can tell if she is free of STDs.
'I met the man on a year ago when I was about to go home with nothing after a hectic day of begging on the streets of Maiduguri.
‘He offered N5, 000 to sleep with me for one day,’ she narrated, while clutching her newborn baby.
‘I agreed to his offer, I collected the N5, 000 and I bought some foodstuff that lasted for only one week,’ the IDP turned beggar said.
But from a need to feed her three orphaned kids, she now has welcomed to her family a fourth child, who she would feed for several hundreds of weeks, alone!
This understanding was not lost on her, as she admitted that ‘at that point (her) challenges increased.’
Apart from these, while she may enjoy some respite until her baby grows, Bintu also has an impending question to answer, which is to tell him who his father is.
And her story is true of many women in the camp.
There are many children living there, who are victims of parental abandonment—even as their biological parents are alive.
Many of them are under ten, which means they were born in the camp.
Perhaps even those who were legitimately born, turn out later to be victims of neglect from their parents.
In an interview with Babagana Makinta, the camp chairman described the situations of many IDPs as pathetic.
‘See this crowd of children, if you can investigate, many of them were adopted by their grandmothers and family members.
‘Most of the children are fatherless and not in school, they end up becoming beggars, very irresponsible…,’ Makinta said.
This story was supported by Journalists for Christ through World Association of Christian Communication (WACC) and Bread for the World – German Protestant Agency for Diaconia and Development.
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12 September 2022