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Nigerian lady gives birth on London-bound plane

By The Citizen
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A plane flying from Nigeria to London had to make an emergency landing on a Spanish island when a Nigerian lady gave birth in business class.

Ujunwa Jennifer Eneh, who turned 31 on Friday, went into labour at 36,000 feet while flying from Nigeria to London, United Kingdom, despite only being 26 weeks pregnant.

The pilot of the British Airways flight was forced to make an emergency landing in Palme de Mallorce, in the Balearic Islands and the mother and baby, which has been called Michael, were rushed to the island's Son Espases hospital.

While Mrs Eneh will soon be discharged, Michael, who is being kept in the intensive care unit, will likely remain in hospital until August, his original due date, so he can develop properly.

Mrs Eneh said: 'I don't have any other option than to stay here on the island. My baby needs me to just hang in there for him until it is safe for him to come home with me.'

The mother-of-two was travelling with her one-year-old daughter, Nnedinma, and was planning to catch a connecting flight from London to Washington, United States of America, where she was taking the little girl for vacation.

It used to be the case that a baby born on board a British ship or aircraft would automatically get British citizenship.

This was based on a United Nations directive aimed at minimising the number of people in the world without a registered state.

However, the British Nationality Act 1981 stated that any such baby, born after January 1, 1983, would not be granted British citizenship unless at least one parent already held it.

When her water broke, the housewife at first refused to believe she had gone into labour so early. The cabin crew called on an unknown female doctor, who was also a passenger on the plane, to carry out the delivery on a flatbed in the Boeing 777's business class section.

Mrs Eneh said: 'I just wasn't thinking that I could be in labour, I couldn't imagine it. When the doctor told me that the baby was coming, I went into total shock, I can't really remember, I wasn't able to think clearly.'

Once the plane had touched down, mother and baby were raced to hospital where they are said to be stable.

Under British Airways regulations, pregnant women can fly on their planes until the end of their 36th week, or 32nd week if carrying more than one baby.

Once the emergency was dealt with, the plane carrying 296 passengers continued on to the UK, arriving two hours late.

A spokesman for British Airways said: 'Our cabin crew, who are trained in birthing procedures, assisted with the delivery of a baby on board our flight from Abuja.

'The Captain diverted the aircraft to Palma so that mum and baby could be taken to hospital.

'We are in touch and will continue to provide any support and help we can.

'We wish the mother and her little one all the very best.' Tribune