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Christy: "angel" rescued
Life, at a time like this in our country, especially for a family of humble background, could indeed be a difficult one. For an average family of which the D... ’s family could be said to be one, making both ends meet is usually a daily struggle and frustrating. They are poor and with little or no assistance from anywhere. Mrs. D., Christy’s mother was involved in a ghastly motor accident with many others along Ibadan/Lagos express road few years back. The victims were rushed to Ikeja Hospital Lagos for treatment. Christy’s mother was in coma for three days, on coming round, her first statement was ‘’My Baby’’... The people around her thought she was hallucinating, but on her persistence, they went back to the accident scene after three days and found a baby filled with dust and covered with flies and ants but still breathing. They took Christy to the same hospital where the mother was admitted for quick intervention and to the glory of God, Christy survived it, but sadly, the mother died few months after. Since then, Christy has been left to the care of her paternal aged grandmother at Ipetu-Ijesa, Oriade Local Government area of Osun State.
Around December 2017, her maternal aunt precisely her mother’s elder sister, came from Lagos and convinced the grandmother to allow Christy to follow her to Lagos for a better attention and to give her good education. Without mincing words, though difficult for the aged grandma, Christy was released to aunt. A renewed hope one would say. The story however changed from that of renewed hope as Christy was turned into a slave and object of torture. The hardship was so much such that the girl who was then barely ten years old could no longer bear it and was left with no other option than to run away from home, wandering around from place to place and away in the lonely world.
Christy was later found by some good Nigerians when she got tired and started crying, perhaps with hunger and thirst. The bike rider who saw her handed her over to the Red Cros International who eventually took her to the ‘’Hope Children Home’’, Ijako Ogun State. On 21st May 2018, I got a phone call from the matron of Hope Children Foundation that, they had a girl of 10 years old for over 6 months and in spite of all the publicity done, nobody had come to claim her. She said that the girl approached her the previous day -20th May- and said that her mother told her the place of her origin in her dream. The matron gave the address and requested that we should assist in searching for the place.
We set out on the 25th of May, 2018 in search of the village. We went to different farm settlements around the village mentioned and eventually got to the place. We interviewed those we met in the house. Having found the place and the family members, we contacted the matron and our report was sent to the Ministry of Women Affairs in Abeokuta and every member of the family was invited for interrogation. The case was referred to the Court. The Court was held about three times, none of the family members was ready to take responsibility of the child Christy. The court eventually ordered for Christy’s father, Mr. D., who was found deteriorating in health and incapacitated financially with virtually no means of livelihood and hence found it difficult to take care of Christy. The Court therefore could not release Christy to him to avoid her ending up on the street begging.
In view of the Court’s position, and with the matron of the Hope Foundation’s claim that if no family member comes forward to claim Christy, she might be given out in adoption by the Ministry after a month’s stay in the Home. It was at this point that I, Sr. Elizabeth Kehinde, considering the fact that she may end up losing her identity if given out on adoption by the Ministry, and after consultation with my Vice-Provincial Sr. Monica Anyi, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit, stood up for Christy and asked if the Centre St. Mary’s rehabilitation Development Centre, Ipetu-Modu could claim her and take care of her until she reaches the age of good reasoning when she could decide by herself, whether to claim the family or otherwise? This request was tabled at the fourth Court call which took place on the 4th of September 2018. On this day, Christy’s uncle - Pastor D. was present and was asked if he could take care of Christy and he said No. The Court there and then handed Christy D. over to me with the consent of my Vice-Provincial Sr. Monica Anyi, the Daughters of the Holy Spirit DHS on behalf of St. Mary’s Rehabilitation & Development Centre, Ipetu-Modu.
The legal procedures were processed and the Court gave the custody of Christy to the DHS. This we hope will be a turning point for the little Christy. Poverty, cruelty, indifference have played their parts in the life of this baby, now, kindness, favours, grace and love have taken over. We hope that many of Christy’s like still out there will be able to find succor in the hands of spirited Nigerians.
Sr. Elizabeth Kehinde, DHS - Centre Coordinator - Published October 24, 2018
Photo. Second from right to left is little Christiana posing with Sr. Elizabeth Kehinde (DHS) and two other staff of St. Mary Rehabilitation Centre, Ipetu-Modu.