A teenage girl identified simply as Bright, buried her newborn baby alive in a shallow grave she dug in a garden inside a compound a few minutes after delivery in Ifa Ikot Okpon community, Uyo Local Government Area of Akwa Ibom state.
The 18-year-old girl, who did not want the baby after giving birth, was said to have committed the crime on Wednesday, February 15, 2023.
Speaking to Premium Times, the girl who lives with her parents in a rented apartment, claimed that she did not know she was pregnant until the moment she gave birth.
However, from what her father, Okon Ekpenyong and others, who are familiar with the incident, said, it appears she lied.
“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.
When asked why she didn’t take the baby inside the house instead of keeping her in that place, she replied thus; “I didn’t know what to do,”
“I was in shock when I gave birth,” she responded, again.” There was no one to tell me what.”
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 shallow 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. I had examined the baby before then, it was still breathing,” she said.
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 and they wanted to take her out for a checkup.
When the publication asked Bright to respond to her father’s claim, she said she went to a church to look for a midwife who could help her with the pregnancy, clearly contradicting her previous claim that she was unaware she was pregnant until the very moment she gave birth.
Bright said a man named Ezekiel, who lives in the community, was responsible for the pregnancy. She said her parents had been seeing the boy whenever he visited her.
Mr Effiong said he and his wife were unaware that their daughter was pregnant until some three days ago or so.
“It was on Sunday that I suspected she was pregnant. I noticed the changes in her body. She told me and the mum that there was nothing wrong with her,” said Mr Effiong, who said he works as a labourer on a farm.