It was a joyous event last Sunday at the Benin Central Hospital, when one of the Libyan returnees, 24 year-old Augustina Omorodion was delivered of a baby girl few hours after she alongside others arrived Edo state from Port Harcourt.
It was the first baby delivered by one of the pregnant ladies who were evacuated from Libya. Relatives and women organizations stormed the hospital when they heard the news. The first Lady of Edo, Mrs Betsy Obaseki, carrying the baby delivered by a Libya returnee, Augustina Omorodion, at the Central Hospital, Benin, while the Chairperson of the State task force on anti-human trafficking, Prof Yinka Omoregbe looks on.
The good news was timely particularly when the returnees were mourning the death of six of their colleagues who were said to have been burnt to death in an accident which occurred along the Ore-Lagos road last week.
Apart from those who died, seven were said to be receiving treatment in a hospital in Ogun state. The returnees were said to be on their way to Lagos to solicit both spiritual and financial assistance from Prophet T B Joshua who had been assisting returnees who came to see him.
Augustina had every reason to give thanks to God for seeing her through what she regarded as hell in Libya. It was an experience she would not wish for her enemies. Narrating her experience to Saturday Vanguard, she said, “I had to drop out of school because I had no money to further my education and we could hardly feed. I also learnt catering but there was no money to start the business. I therefore had to travel due to my family background. It was one of my friends in school who assisted me to travel.
When I travelled I did not know I was pregnant. I passed through the Sahara desert when I left and that was another hell. There was no water and the sun was very hot. I felt I was dying but death did not come.
My plan was to stay in Libya and work for few months to enable me make enough money with which to cross over to Europe. While in Libya, the Libyan police came to arrest me. We were in the house when they came at midnight, shouting that we should open our gate.
Our people refused to open the gate but they started shooting and forced the gate open.
We all came out running to nowhere, but they arrested all of us and took us to their own prison. In Libya, different sets of people have their own prison.
Libya is an evil place. In prison, they were giving us little macaroni and they would even put drug in our food or water and after eating the food we would start feeling very weak and drowsy.
And I was pregnant but I had no choice but to persevere. They would shout at us, beat us and do all sorts of harsh things to us.
When she was asked who impregnated her and when it happened, Augustina said, “I got pregnant here in Nigeria before I travelled but I did not know. My boyfriend got me pregnant, my family knows him and he knew I am back but I am surprised he has not come to see me.
I want to go home and continue my work. I want government to assist me with money so I can open a store, that is my appeal now. That will help me take care of this child that God has given me.
I had the baby in a hard way so I will want her to live a good life”. Explaining how she started having the feelings that the baby was coming, she stated that, “it was when we arrived Benin from Port Harcourt that I started feeling it.
And I thank God it did not happen in the plane from Libya, it would have been difficult. When it was disturbing me they rushed me to the hospital.
And that was why I gave my child the name Miracle because she is a miracle child.. I named her Miracle because it was God who helped me, I would not have been able to have her with what I passed through at the age of 24.
A lot of people died in my presence and being a pregnant woman with no care from anywhere, I would have died but God saved me and that is why I am alive today. I will never go to Libya again in my life. People should not bother to think about it because it is not a place to go. I thank God I am alive and my baby is alive”. Among the dignitaries who visited the baby and mother at the hospital was the first lady of Edo state, Mrs Betsy Obaseki. The first lady danced joyo
usly with other women at the hospital and showered the baby with gift items worth thousands of naira, reiterating the resolve of the state government to support the rehabilitation and resettlement of indigenes of the state who returned from Libya. The first lady who disclosed that she was elated with the news of the delivery said that the life of every indigene of the state was of utmost importance to the government and as such, would be jealously protected by the state. Speaking at the hospital, Mrs Obaseki pointed out that “It is an exciting moment for us all and we are here to rejoice with the mother who just told me she was in prison for two months with her pregnancy before being brought back home to Nigeria last week. We thank God that she was brought home just few days before the baby arrived, it would have been a terrible experience if she had the baby in prisons. We also thank our government for being an instrument to deliver and bless these people. I want to also commend the wonderful job the Task Force is doing as regards the returnees”. Also speaking, the Chairman of the state task force on Anti Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, Prof Yinka Omoregbe, who was with the first lady described the birth of the baby as a “Prophetic Sign.” She said, “we have been taking good care of those of them that are pregnant. We ensure that they are brought to the hospital where all attention is paid to them to ensure safe delivery. We are very much happy to have our first baby and we think it is a very beautiful prophetic sign. It is also good that she is healthy. They are returnees, so we have the same plan for them and their babies as we have for others. We thank the first lady for showing love and concern for these people and I believe this will help boost their morale and give them a sense of belonging in their own land”. Also speaking on the issue, the Special Adviser to the governor on Anti Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa, said the care being given by the state government to the returnees will encourage others to come back and settle in their fatherland. He said:
“It is a thing of joy for all the families, for those who will be coming home out of frustration. Now they are coming home with joy knowing that government will take care of them. Being a returnee is no longer a stigma in Edo state. We were happy she had the baby in a very safe environment.
She was among the three pregnant women that we rushed to hospital, she has gone through a lot in that hospital. We still have others who we are expecting will give birth soon. Most of them who came were pregnant and were due for delivery by the time they arrived.
The Edo state government will give them the medical attention they require and enlist them for the programmes we have for children and mothers”.