By Idongesit Ashameri
While many, with best possible means to care for and give children a world class standard of necessities and wants of life may be praying and doing all within their powers to be blessed with a fruit of the womb, others are on the other hand embarrassed with this blessing in multiple folds.
Ironically, those blessed with children, even against their wishes are more often than not, grossly incapable of caring for such children. One is therefore left to wonder if such gifts, priceless though they may be, should be appreciated, mourned, wished away or embrace with open arms, even as the future of such ‘blessing’ is far from certainty.
A case in time is Mrs. Esther Friday of Ikot Ambang, Ibiono Ibom Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State , a peasant farmer and mother of a single child, two sets of twins and a set of quadruplets totaling nine with no reliable source of income both from the husband and herself.
As though the agonies of accidental pregnancies and multiple births were not enough, Esther equally found herself among the band of women abused and brutalized at every slight provocation by her husband and father of her nine children, popularly known in the community as Rasta Man.
Scared the violent disposition of the husband may someday terminate her life and leave the children, especially the quadruplets who are about six months old without a mother, Esther had to run for dear life, abandoning her Cross River State residence to seek refuse in her hometown- Akwa Ibom, surviving herself and the children through street begging.
Independent who ran into Esther, her sister and her set of quadruplets at Idongesit Nkanga Secretariat Uyo reports that this depressed mother of nine has within the past few months been a very regular visitor to the Akwa Ibom State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare where she was advised to document her plight and story in writing, for assistance.
Speaking with our Correspondent, the sad mother, full of bruises sustained from her violent husband whose name was simply given as Mr. Friday said: “Their father has been very violent with me, hitting me over every slight provocation with machetes and other dangerous weapons, I did not want him to kill me and leave these children to suffer, so I had to run away with my children”.
“It is not the first time he is treating me like this. He has always been violent and aggressive, if I stay a bit longer in the market, he must beat me up, he has violently destroyed my skin with knife. He suspects my every little move. That is why I did not need any publicity so that he would not trace me to make my life more miserable. All I need is the means to care for these innocent children”.
“I decided to come back to my state to see if God would bless me with what to do to take care of them, I was advised to come to the Ministry of Women Affairs. When we came here, they asked me to bring a letter, which I did, I have been coming here every day without being allowed to see the Commissioner, they will either tell you she is busy or not in town. I want to please plead with the wife of the Governor and the Commissioner to help me. I am from this state and I have nowhere else to run to”. She cried
Also speaker, the elder sister to Esther who did not want her name in print said the sister has been suffering since she put to birth and urgently needed assistance to care for the children. She therefore called on Wife of the State Governor, Mrs. Martha Emmanuel, and Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Gloria Edet and other relevant bodies and private individuals to come to their aid”.
“I have been told government has a programme for multiple births. My sister did not plan for this, she has just two breasts and not four, she can’t even feed herself enough to satisfy one child, not to talk about four, all she need is assistance please”.
She regretted that the children started eating fufu barely two months after delivery, as the few tins of milk donated by some kind-hearted individuals shortly after their delivery could not go beyond the first month.
“They cry a lot at night, they need milk but can’t get it, we feed them with fufu as you can see. So when they wake up at night to cry for milk after exhausting their mother, we give them fufu with soup. These are these are Ibiono Ibom children, Akwa Ibom children, these are Nigerians please help them to survive”. She pleaded.
Interestingly, the seven months old quadruplets of three boys and one girls, all in very sound health, displayed very impressive cooperation with the mother by accepting whatever was given to them, including fufu which has replaced the milk due to babies their age.
Effort to speak with the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Dr Gloria Edet yielded no fruit as calls to her lines proved abortive.