By Fredrick Okopie
The birth of a new baby usually evokes joy in the proud parents who sometimes roll out the drums toÂ celebrate the happy event, especially if the baby is coming after a long wait by the couple following their wedding. Among some families, the celebration may entail them barricading an entire street, especially if they are well-to-do andÂ theÂ baby is the first child of that union.
At such an event, the celebrants and their guests may be seen donning fashionable uniformed wears as is usually the case with Nigerians in the South West who often settle for their trademark Aso ebi. Also a party of this nature can never be complete without abundance of food and assorted drinks with enoughÂ music to tease all present to the dancing floor.
Children, the Christian Holy Book says, are blessings from God and therefore should be treasured and treated with care and love. In fact, Jesus Christ, the Biblically acclaimed son of God, had cause to rebuke his disciples for scolding thoseÂ bringing little children to Him for blessing.
But it will appear that one womanâ€™s bundle of joy is another womanâ€™s burden of pain. For instance, a certain mother somewhere in the sprawling slum community of Tolu in Ajeromo Ifelodun Local Government obviously did not believe in the Biblical statement that a child is a special blessing from God when she decided to dumped her newly born baby rather than celebrate her birth like some happy parents are doing.
In fact, it came as a big shock to some residents in the area when they stumbled on a black polythene bag dumped inside a dirty gutter which on close examination was found to contain a baby girl with a cellotape across its mouth, apparently to prevent it from crying.
A middle age man was the first to recover from the shock and subsequently took the â€˜strange packageâ€™ to the Tolu Police Station
When Policemen at the station later freed the baby from the bag it was discovered that its umbilical cord had not been cut. According to a Vanguard Metro source, the baby was taken to the nearby Tolu Medical Centre for attention 30 minutes later. The hospital took custody of the child.
Vanguard Metroâ€™s initial efforts to see the baby ran into a brick wall as the Police were not initially forthcoming on its whereabout. A senior Police officer at the Station declined information pertainingÂ to the baby and referred all enquiries to the Police Public Relations Office, Ikeja.
When our reporter visited the Tolu Medical Centre,Â the Medical Director, Dr. Sodipo Gbolahan, confirmed the story that an abandoned baby was brought to the hospital in the morning by policemen from the Tolu station, with the umbilical cord still intact. He later led Vanguard MetroÂ to the ward where nurses taking care of the baby assured that she was doing well.
The card with which the baby was registered read:Â Fashola Joy Tolu. According to Dr. Gbolahan, the baby was christened after Fashola because he is doing well as the Governor of Lagos State. Speaking to Vanguard Metro the midwife saddled with the responsibility of taking care of Joy said: â€œFrom my own experience as a midwife, the baby was delivered that very day she was thrown away, because we separated the umbilical cord and treated it as usual.
We also pierced her ears and fixed earrings in them. But up till now nobody has come forward to lay claim as the motherâ€. She also informed that the baby was not on breast milk, which exposes her to risk. She, however, assured that since she was in hospital there was no problem.
But the StateÂ Command Deputy Police Public Relations Officer, an Assistant Superintendent of Police(ASP), Chris Onyeisi told Vanguard Metro that Baby Fashola was later transferred to the Juvenile Welfare Centre(JWC) at Alakara, Munshi. Vanguard Metro learnt that she was later taken to an undisclosed orphanage homer.
VC makes case for moral values
VICE Chancellor of Covenant University, Ota, Professor Aize Obayan, has restated the need for Nigerians to be orientated towards good moral values, saying that it takes precedence over calls for reorientation of the countryâ€™s population.
Prof Obayan, who said this at this at the Millennium Development Goals Reorientation Programme, held recently in Lagos, argued that Nigerians should ask if there was ever an orientation before calling for reorientation.
According to her: â€œWhen talking about the programmes that will bring the new face of Nigeria, we need to talk about orientation. But when talking about re-orientation, you ask yourself if there was ever an orientation. What we need now is orientation that will produce core moral values and that is what is happening now. I believe that it will form the specifics which will drive the life our nationâ€.
She further challenged Nigerians to always query and question the system, adding that it will promote the unity of the nation.
Muslims to look out for new moon
The Nigerian Supreme Council for Islamic Affairs (NSCIA) has urged Muslim faithful to look out for the new moon signifying the end of the Ramadan fast.
The Chairman of the National Moon-sighting Commitee, Group Captain Usman Jibril (rtd) also advised chairmen of states moon-sighting commitees to be vigilant and co-operate with their respective Vice-President-Generals in the verification of the end of Ramadan.
Jibril, according to a statement by NSCIAâ€™s Director of administration, Amin O. Igwegbe, saidÂ that Muslim faithful should look out for the moon and report to the Sultan of Sokoto, Muhammed Saâ€™ad Abubarkar after due verification and confirmation.
He also warned that the only authorised person to officially announce the sighting of the moon for termination of Ramadan fasting is the leader of the Muslim Ummah, the Sultan and President-General of NSCIA.