By Suzan Edeh
The birth of a new child is usually an occasion for celebrations but for the family of Ahmadu Didda, a peasant farmer from Dunomari village in Zaki Local Government Area of Bauchi State, the arrival of a very strange baby girl on January 13, 2012, was greeted with sorrow.
The new baby who was named Fatima by her parents, was born without two hands and legs. The malformation which is called Phocomelia, occurred right in the mother’s womb during pregnancy. The news of her birth spread like wild fire and in a matter of hours, many residents of Zaki Local Government, converged in the home of Fatima’s parents to behold the strange spectacle.
Metro Vanguard VM joined the horde of visitors who trooped into the house of Ahmadu Didda, the father of the strange baby girl, to witness the rather strange occurrence.
Mr Didda, who has four normal children, said that Fatima’s birth was very strange and remains a mystery to him, because none of his other children had any form of abnormality or deformity.
He said: “This is a gift from God but it won’t be easy for us to raise Fatima because without legs and hands, she needs special care and attention. We feel sorry for her but with the assistance from government and individual, I know that she will live a good life.
I cannot point out to what resulted to the deformity of my daughter, because all my other children are normal and very healthy. So I see her birth an act of God and I cannot question what God has decided to create. I feel that with support from good spirited individual who have the fear of God, Fatima will have a happy life, despite the deformity”.
Fatima’s mother, Rukayya who is yet to come to terms with the reality that she has to raise a baby without hands and legs lamented how life will look like for Fatima without support from philanthropists and the government.
She recalled to Vanguard Metro the experience she went through during the period of nine months she carried the baby in the womb.“This is my fifth child and during the pregnancy, I went through a lot of difficulties because I did not attend antenatal services at the hospital. The reason was because I could not afford the cost.
I normally give birth to all my children at home and they are all normal but in Fatima’s case, it was not the same like the rest of the children, given that the labour was very complicated and hectic for me. Before her birth, I resorted to taking traditional herbs which I was used to. Although, we have a hospital at the local government where pregnant mothers usually give birth, I preferred to give birth at home because of lack of money. I want to use this opportunity to call on the government and other good people to come to Fatima’s aid so that she can have a normal life,”she pleaded.
The father of the baby who named his daughter Fatima said the family is grateful to God for giving them the child whom he described as a beautiful baby.
In a special appeal, Chairman of disabled persons in Sakwa , Abdullahi Gindi, who is blind, said it is the duty of society to ensure that Fatima is not discriminated against as a result of her condition.
“She needs to be assisted. We are grateful that she was born a healthy child. She sulks normally and so we need to protect her. But her parents are poor that is why we are calling for assistance so that Fatima would live”. he said.
Reacting to the birth of the strange baby, a Consultant at the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa hospital Bauchi, Dr. Labaran Dan Tigo, said the deformity of that nature can be treated artificially, so that the individual can have a normal and comfortable life.
He stressed that, “deformities in babies can be as a result of taking wrong medications, be it traditional or western medications during the pregnancy and this can cause abnormalities in babies.
Assuming Fatima’s mother was attending antenatal services regularly and taking the right medications for pregnant women, the possibility of having a deformed baby would have been very slim. In addition, she would have been undergoing regular scan, to ascertain the position and health of the baby. With all this measures put in place, if the baby in her womb had some abnormalities, it would have been detected on time and pregnancy can be terminated”.
Dr. Labaran then said since she has been born, it is now mandatory for government and good spirited Nigerians to rally around the family and offer them support.