A Three Week-Old Boy’s Arm Amputated, Mother Cries for Help
The birth of little Etimbuk heralded joy in the family and communities of Udung Otong, in Oruk Anam Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom State, Nigeria; but the joy in less than three weeks was reversed to sadness as the half brother of the baby, Nathaniel John 27, used machetes to chop off the infant's right arm.
The half brother, Nathaniel, who is based in Calabar but frequently visits home sometimes to vent his anger and frustration on any one mostly children, did not waist time to make the little boy his next victim. Mrs Enobong John told Newsmen that the little child fell asleep after breastfeeding in the morning of Tuesday, September 27 while she was in the kitchen to handle a few domestic chores.
“I head the child crying, I thought it was the usual cry of children who needed to be cuddled as his yelling became even harder, but within a few moments his, brother, Israel, ran to me raising alarm which bewildered every one. I ran into the room only to see blood spills all over the room; my son's arm was cut off with blood too all over his body and the beddings …” Mrs Enobong lamented
The baby was immediately rushed to the University of Uyo Teaching Hospital (UUTH) where he is said to be receiving treatment. The mother who is trades fire in the local markets told this reporter that her husband has since retired from work and was bedridden due to ill-health.
A senior Doctor of the Orthopaedic Unit of the UUTH, who merely gave his name as Dr Nortich said the baby's health will be okay when given appropriate treatment; but refused to comment on the possibility of rejoining his arm.
Commenting on the matter, the Police Public Relation Officer of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Oyenka Orji said the matter was under investigation by the police. On whether the suspect was a mentally retarded person as speculated, he maintained that the police will only rely on medical report a qualified doctor ascertain his mental status.
It was gathered that no sooner had he committed the crime than taking to his hill. But speculations were rife that some able-bodied youth who went after him later apprehended him and sent him to his early grave.
The Akwa Ibom State Commissioner Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Mrs Eunice Thomas was placed on a phone call, but as soon as the matter was raised to her she abruptly dropped the call and refused to pick any from this reporter.
Reacting to the appeal to help the infant for his medial treatment, a Senior Special Assistant on Diaspora Affair to Governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom State, Mr Clement Ikpatt expressed bitterness as to why the matter was allowed to get into the media.
“…it would have been easier, faster and best to first report matter to relevant government agencies in Akwa Ibom State for action than resort to a fund's raising campaign and unnecessary publicity stunt on the Internet. Yes, it is commendable to help the needy and engage in various forms of humanitarian services.” Ikpatt roared.
Yet admitted that: Nevertheless, I urge all who wish to undertake child rescue missions, or are in the habit of being suddenly called upon by strangers to rescue abused children, to contact and properly register each case with the relevant government ministry for purposes of accountability.
But in a ten paragraph response, the author of the best-selling novel, “Beyond Execution…” and Chairman of the Diaspora Ibom People's Congress (IPC) Dr Tom Mbeke-Ekanem commended Ms Favour Onobo, for drawing attention of the world to the plight of little Etimbuk and called upon well meaning individuals to come the aid of the three week old. He however, berated the Akwa Ibom State government for being insensitive to the plight of vulnerable children like this and quick to venture into “denials” with bloated ego and image on such issues involving the plight of children.
“I have also seen in the last week a thrash in the name of press release by the agent of the government supposedly in reaction to your sharing of this information with us. I am sure if you did not append the pictures of the baby, theirs would have been a complete denial of existence of such baby. Thank God you were not accused of importing the picture from Benin Republic or wherever.
“It's still fresh in our minds the denials of the so called witchcraft children at Eket by the state government. To make sure Akwa Ibom was not portrayed "negatively" before the world, (CEO of CRARN) Sam Itauma, the Good Samaritan, was hounded down like a common criminal. Left for the state government, those kids would still be “skinned and roasted” alive for no fault of theirs while they look the other way. May you not be given a Sam Itauma – treatment!” Dr Mbeke-Ekanem maintained
He recalled that a similar incident like this occurred in July this year involving one little Mfoniso Edet. He was allowed to die due to negligence while the state governor was busy touring the globe scampering for awards to receive.
“Was it not in July 2011 that the fate of another Akwa Ibom child, Mfoniso Edet, dangled in the hands of the good Samaritans around the world? As tragic as this was unfortunate, Mfoniso died in August 2011 while his governor was receiving yet another "award" of inhumane transformation of the state in a far away Houston, Texas?... How insensitive or inhumane should those entrusted with the citizens lives continue to be?” He queried.
Meanwhile Mrs Favour Onobo has appealed to well-meaning individuals and bodies to donate for the help of little Etimbuk and children facing similar fate in Akwa Ibom State.