Family members of a teenager, who was impregnated by her father, are willing to accept the 14-year-old mother back to their midst, but they don't want anything to do with the product of the incestuous relationship. Comfort Oseghale writes that the uncertainty surrounding the future of three-week-old Amina is yet to be resolved by the concerned agencies
L-R: Onojobi, the baby and Kehinde
The meaning of Amina is said to be being at peace and secure. The conception of three-week-old Amina is anything, but peaceful. Neither is her future secure as this baby is reportedly a product of an incestuous relationship between her 50-year-old grandfather, Yesiru Onojobi, and her 14-year-old mother, Kehinde.
Little Amina, who is currently a guest of the Lagos Zonal Office of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, was taken to the agency with her teenage mother after her grandfather was arrested by the officers of the Lagos State Police Command.
For Kehinde, who is gradually coming out of her shell, life has to continue despite her current travails. "I don't have any particular reason for naming my daughter Amina; it was the first name that came to my mind," the teenage mother said as she cuddled her baby. Though a Muslim, Kehinde has no idea that Amina's current situation is an ironic contrast to the meaning of her name as the baby has been rejected by her relatives, who do not want anything to do with her.
She said, "My grandmother is willing to take care of me, but she said she doesn't want the baby. So for now, I can't go back home to my relatives until the government takes this baby off my hand. She said that people would keep talking about us as long as Amina remains with me. I just want to go back to school. Perhaps later on in life, when I am financially independent, I can come back for her."
Kehinde is anxious to return to her maternal grandmother and resume a normal life. Though she wants to go on with her education, she cannot leave the NAPTIP custody until a decision has been taken about Amina.
Head of NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Office, Mr. Godwin Morka, explained that arrangements were being made to ensure that the future of the baby was secure.
"We have contacted the Social Welfare Department of the Lagos State Ministry of Youths, Sports and Social Development. They will have to determine whether the baby will be put up for adoption or fostering since Kehinde is saying she may come back for her baby later on. Obviously, some bond has developed between mother and child," Morka said.
Amina's journey to this earth began when 49-year-old Onojobi, her grandfather, brought home his 13-year-old daughter to live with him in 2009. According to the farmer, Kehinde's twin brother, Taiwo, who was also living with a relation, came home months later to live with his father and sister.
"I used to live with my aunt before my father brought me to live with him in 2009. I had completed my primary education; so, my father (got me) enrolled me in a secondary school, but my brother Taiwo was still living with another relation of ours," said Kehinde, who added that her father started molesting her in December 2009, months before Taiwo joined them.
She said, "He beat me frequently so he could have his way with me. There was a time he even used hot iron on my nose and mouth because he thought I had confided in one of my aunties. I could not keep friends; I couldn't talk to anyone. He constantly monitored me. Even when I got pregnant, I did not know. I only noticed that my tummy hurt; I thought I was sick. It was my neighbours that kept telling me that I was pregnant when they noticed my tummy bulging."
Onojobi took his daughter to a hospital and immediately the pregnancy was confirmed, he allegedly berated his traumatised daughter. "He started abusing me right there at the hospital, insisting that I have been sleeping around. It was when I accused him that it was his fault that he stopped shouting and told me not to mention it to anyone," she said. Kehinde's cousins, who had noticed her condition, eventually burst the bubble when they coerced Kehinde to mention who was responsible for her pregnancy.
The teenage mother said, "They were all angry with my dad and started beating him. Taiwo, who was at a car workshop, where he worked as a battery charger, came home to meet the uproar. When he was told what the confusion was all about, he started crying." Onojobi was later banished from his Ibeju-Lekki community and arrested by the police when he went to the police station to make a report that someone had put his daughter in the family way.
According to Morka, it was Kehinde who set the records straight and gave her father up. She told the police that her father impregnated her, saying the man was just looking for an excuse to do away with the baby.
Onojobi, who is currently awaiting prosecution, at first tried to blame the devil for his actions. "It is a family curse. We lived in a one-room apartment and we all sleep on a bed at night," Onojobi said as he gave an indication that the sleeping arrangement offered a perfect opportunity to satisfy his sexual desire.
"When I am doing it with his sister at night, Taiwo would get up under the pretext that he was going out to ease himself and would not return."
Obviously, Kehinde isn't the only one who had been traumatised; her twin brother, who was a silent witness through it all, might eventually need some therapy of his own to overcome his ordeal.