Baby survives blast that killed mother, granny, uncle

By: Judd-Leonard Okafor

_: The father of the 11-month-old girl, Ifeoluwa, who was severely injured in Kuje bomb blast has appeared at her hospital bed with more heart-rending story.

Samson Olu told hospital workers yesterday that the girl’s mother, grandmother and uncle had all died in the blast.

No fewer than 18 people were confirmed dead after blasts rocked Kuje and Nyanya in Abuja on Friday.

The girl’s aunt was among 13 others who sustained injuries and were evacuated to National Hospital’s Trauma Centre by emergency rescue workers, Friday.

The trauma teams working on people injured in the blast could not immediately identify Ifeoluwa’s parents among the nine copses or injured persons brought into National Hospital’s mortuary.

“We can’t find the parents for now,” Tayo Haastrup, the hospital’s chief information officer told Daily Trust on Saturday as Ifeoluwa fought for her life. “The more important thing is now let’s just take care of the baby,” he had added.

But her father, Samuel Olu, who appeared yesterday at the hospital said he only hoped that God would be merciful on his daughter. He said he identified his daughter their only child by a piece of the shawl which his wife had strapped their baby to her back.

His wife, Christiana, 25, who was undergoing a diploma programme at Nasarawa Polytechnic returned to Abuja only on Friday, to help out at her mother’s shop, a garden near Kuje main market, Olu said.

The family had closed business and were walking home in a single file across the market when the bomb exploded, he said.

“My wife’s brother was in front. My wife carried our baby on her back. Her mother was behind her and her sister was in the back,” he narrated at the hospital on Sunday.

The blast tore through the market, killing 15 people, according to accounts, including Ifeoluwa’s entire family but sparing her aunt.

Even though Olu lost “my wife, my mother-in-law, my brother-in-law,” he had not shed a tear since Saturday. He said he had not the time to do that. “Three of them are dead. My daughter survived, and is very, very injured.”

Her right foot is damaged, and the fourth and fifth toes “are off,” her father said.

“Under her foot, it is as if the blast ate it. You can see through to the bones of the three toes left behind,” he added.

Ifeoluwa’s right eye is also swollen, along with scrapes and bruises on the right side of her body.

Her carers moved her from triage into the children and female ward on Sunday afternoon, in preparation for surgery.

The National Hospital regulations do not allow male adults stay with patients in female wards and Olu has not been able to produce an adult female who will be with Ifeoluwa.

The girl’s aunt, being treated at National Hospital, is still recovering and she is not yet aware that her mother, sister and brother were dead.

“I don’t want to disturb her with that news yet,” said Olu. But he insists his daughter is doing well in hospital.

“I’m hoping, we are all hoping in the Lord. We thank God that after everything that’s happened, He’s still there. And I’m just trying to be strong.”