By Janet Afolabi
Labake is a mentally challenged teenager. Two years ago someone took advantage of her condition, impregnated and abandoned her. She was begging for food and money to survive.
The first time l saw her was in October 2020 when she strayed into my event. She was being dragged out by security men when she caught the attention of Kafayat Oyetola, Osun State First Lady, who was my guest.
The First Lady took Labake to Oshogbo, rehabilitated and took care of her till she delivered a baby. Then she brought Labake back to Apomu, the headquarters of Isokan local government area of Osun state.
This year again, in 2022, an unknown man whose name according to Labake is “Operator” impregnated her and disappeared.
On Thursday, November 3, I was told Labake was at the Palace gate. I thought it was her usual visit for support. I asked my staff to take some things to her. He came back with a paper and said Labake was crying profusely.
The paper was the scan result which showed among other things that she had been due since October 24 and the baby’s position in her womb posed great danger to her life. The baby’s head was up instead of down.
I asked security to let her in. When l saw her, l didn’t need to be told that she was in great pain. l called Julius Edet and Moses Bello (both members of the Medical team l set up for my project “Initiative To Stop Teenage Pregnancy” to come to the Palace .
They took her to the health centre. After payment was made for registration and tests, the officials said there was no doctor to attend to her.
She was taken to another health centre. The Matron spoke to me. She said Labake’s condition was beyond them. She advised that Labake be taken to a private hospital or General hospital Oluyoro in Ibadan because the only way she could give birth was through the operation.
For me, Ibadan was not an option at all because of the distance and gridlock. Labake may not have survived the stress in the condition that she was in.
I decided to call Goke Odetunde, Chairman of our local government. He responded immediately. l told him about the situation on the ground. He said Labake should be taken to a private hospital in a neighbouring community. He also paid the bill.
To the glory of Almighty God, the operation was successful. She delivered a baby boy. Mother and child are alive.
But the journey to save Labake has not ended. I would like to rehabilitate her and provide a secure shelter for her. She can then acquire a skill or start a trade.
I want to thank the Chairman for the rapid response and kind gesture. And also, Julius and Moses for devoting their time and attention to be with Labake throughout her agonising hours.
I want to appeal to the men who keep taking advantage of Labake’s mental condition to sexually harass/ abuse/ impregnate her, to desist. If she were your sister or daughter l do not think you will be happy if someone does that to her.
Most likely, you would describe such action as a man’s inhumanity to a vulnerable teenage girl.
Olori Janet Afolabi is a CNN award-winning journalist, author and queen of Apomu Land.