Residents saw a newborn baby wrapped in a black nylon bag. The Ebohons, among other residents, placed curses on whoever might have thrown the child away.
The police was invited to take away the baby who was later sent to the Ministry of Women Affairs in Edo State.
That night, Mrs. Ebohon observed that their oldest daughter, Joy, was acting different, so she tried to find out what her daughter’s problem was, to no avail.
So she told the husband to probe Joy to know what the problem was.
At about 5am the following day, Mr Ebohon woke Joy up and forcibly asked her to tell him the cause of her unease.
Joy then opened up to her parents that she was the one who dumped the child on the street.
Her angry father went to the police to report the matter.
Mr Ebohon then handed over the daughter to the police for prosecution.
She was arraigned before a Magistrate Court in Benin by the police on June 17 and was remanded in Oko prisons pending advice from the state Director of Public Prosecution (DPP) on the matter.
Now, Mr and Mrs Ebohon are appealing for the release of the daughter whose first son is barely two years old.
Narrating the incident, Ebohon, a farmer, said:
“I decided to go to the village to farm because of the difficulty to get money to train my children. My daughter, Osarhiakhi Joy, in jail now, left secondary school some years back. She is my eldest daughter and she is 28 years old.
About five years ago, she wrote her SSCE and passed all her papers and got admission into the College of Education, Ekiadolor, but I couldn’t pay the fees. I begged her to be patient till some other time. Before I knew it, she became pregnant. I called the boy responsible and told him that I didn’t want any stupid act and asked if he was going to marry her and he said yes.
Then I told him the condition that my daughter wanted to further her education by studying pharmacy and he said okay. So she gave birth to the first child, a boy, who is about two years now. After that, she told me she couldn’t be staying at home, that she wanted to learn a trade before gaining admission and pending when the husband, or myself would be financially okay to send her back to school. I said it was okay. That is how she started learning fashion designing.
She told her husband to come and beg me so that, at times, she could be staying with me because her place of work is closer to us and they don’t have their personal house. That is how she stated living with us again. I never knew she was pregnant this second time because I don’t stay in Benin; even the mother that stays in Benin never knew about it. I didn’t know she will be this clever to cover-up without our notice. “On June13, I came to Benin from the village to relax.
I discovered people were shouting that they discovered a baby very close to my compound. I never had the belief that it was my daughter who gave birth to the baby. I was taking my siesta that afternoon when I woke up and ran to the place and I had been hearing the cry of a little baby thinking it was the next compound. I and my wife were among the first person to place curse on the culprit. I was the same person who organized to go call the police that what the person did was bad.
“The next day when I was ready to go back to the village, my wife called me to say I should ask our daughter that the way she was looking at her, there were changes in her. Then I called my daughter at about 5 am and told her to tell me the truth so that I could help her. That was when she told me that she was the one, I was about to collapse but as a man I controlled myself and asked her who was responsible for the pregnancy. She said it was the husband though they are not married.
When I asked her why she behaved that way, she said when she told her husband about the pregnancy, he told her to go and abort it. She said she wanted to tell me but didn’t know what confused her. I was annoyed and took her hand to the chief security officer in my street to arrest her and let her suffer for what she has done so that others will learn from her.
Then I took my bag and left for the village because I was having an appointment that morning with some people that are going to work in my farm.
“The same day, they called the police and handed her over to them.
She was detained at Textile Mill Police Station with her mother. When I heard about it, I didn’t care because what she did, I was not happy with it. Since then she has been in custody. It was later I heard that she was remanded in Oko prisons after the Evboriaria Magistrate Court said it was not in the position to handle the case as it is within the jurisdiction of the High Court. So they sent the file to the DPP.
I said I wouldn’t be part of the case but it was later that people were begging me to realize that my daughter is not a wayward child; that something must have happened. Maybe the way the husband threatened her must have made her do it and she knows I don’t tolerate nonsense because I told her to be very careful as marriage is for better for worse.
Then I called the husband and asked if he was responsible for the baby, and he said no. I called the two sisters of the man and told them to ask their brother if he is the one. They started saying that their brother was not the father of the child, that he was ready to go anywhere for a test, that even the first child, he was not sure if he is the father, that he had to do a test before he could accept him.
In fact the boy said we should go to Ayelala (native doctor) to find out that he was not the father of the child. Now I have so much pity for my daughter who already has a two-year-old son with us. I want her released. I had to act the way I did because what she did was bad. But I have realized that my daughter has learnt from her mistakes.
We are going to take care of the child. People should realize that I am not a bad person; if I am, I would not have informed the police to arrest her. The child is at the orphanage home now. We will accept the baby if my daughter is released. I am begging the authorities”. Asked if she was not aware that her daughter was pregnant, Mrs Ebohon said, “ I was not aware of the pregnancy and I don’t know how she kept the pregnancy that I was not aware.
The first one, I was the one that detected it but this one she hid it from me. She told me that the husband is the cause of everything because she wanted to go to school when she got admission into the college of education. Because we didn’t have money, she couldn’t go to school, that is how the boy hooked her. After the father informed the police, they came to arrest us and took statement from me and her; fromTextile Mill Police Station, she was taken to Esigie Police Station.
She was there for some weeks and I have been going to see her and people were saying it was not her fault; she even said it was the husband who frustrated her that she had to hid it from us.
Though we were annoyed of what she did, people were begging us to pardon her that it is not her fault since she she was not able to take care of the first one. In fact she had that baby on June 13 but the child was discovered on June 16.
When we even went to the Ministry of Women Affairs to see the child, they said they will not allow us to see her.
My daughter is in prison now crying and begging God to forgive her, and release her to unite with her baby. She insists on going back to school if the opportunity comes”.It was a pitiable sight when Sunday Vanguard, in the company of her parents, visited Joy at Oko prisons; she wept uncontrollably when she saw her son. Asked why she decided to throw away the child, she narrated:
“I was frustrated because my husband threatened that if I didn’t remove the pregnancy, he will not accept it. And I was afraid of telling my parents because my father will not take it lightly with me.
What happened was that I went to the toilet to have my bath. As I was bathing, I entered into labour, the child came out smoothly. I was confused on what to do. I got a nylon bag around, quickly poured water on my body to clean up the blood. I rushed out of the bedroom, walked down the street and quietly dropped the child on the ground and came back home”.Asked how she felt when people were placing curses on her, she said:
“I was feeling very bitter inside me. I wept without people knowing why I was crying. It was because of my condition that my mother started suspecting me.
I was scared on what to do because my father will not be happy with me that my husband rejected the baby, while my husband warned me he will not accept the child if I kept it.
And I didn’t really want to abort the baby. I have prayed God to forgive me, people should forgive and allow me go and take care of my baby.
Poverty caused this problem for me, if not I would not have met this man. But God will judge him for rejecting this child that is his blood”.