A teenage girl in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, South-south Nigeria, on Wednesday gave birth to a newborn baby and quickly buried her alive.
The girl, identified as Bright, 18, apparently did not want the baby after giving birth, and 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.
She lives with her parents in a rented house inside the compound.
Bright said she did not know she was pregnant until the moment she gave birth. But from what her father, Okon Ekpenyong and others, who are familiar with the incident, said, it appears she lied.
‘I saw a baby coming out of my body’
“My body was paining me. All of a sudden, I now fell down here (pointing at the garden where she buried the baby), 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.
“Why didn’t you take the baby inside the house, is that a place where a baby should be kept?” PREMIUM TIMES asked Bright.
“I didn’t know what to do,” she responded.
“Can you sleep there, at that place?”
“I was in shock when I gave birth,” she responded, again. “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.
Mrs 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.
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.