By Emeka Odogwu
AWKA—IT was jubilation galore in Awka, yesterday, when a woman from Abia State, Mrs Ifeoma Ogbonnaya, was delivered of quintuplets at Life International Hospital, Awka, Anambra State capital.
Immediately the news got out, many trooped to have a glimpse, but were disappointed as the babies were moved into the incubator.
The quintuplets, three boys and two girls, weighed 2.15k, 2.15kg 2kg, 1.8kg and 1.8kg, respectively.
Father begs for help
The father of the quintuplets, Mr. Nwaka Ogbonnaya, 38, was overwhelmed with joy but expressed fears about his ability to shoulder the responsibility.
He called for government assistance to ensure the five children are adequately taken care of and noted that God answered their prayers according to their wish.
According to him, “I am extremely happy for these bundles of joy. The mixture is actually what we prayed for: three boys and two girls. They are now six because we already had a female child. I am a fulfilled man and I am very happy. I glorify God for His mercies.”
Ogbonnaya, who sells provisions at Alaba International Market, Owerri, Imo State, called on government, philanthropists, politicians and churches to come to his rescue, saying “the task of bringing up the children in this hostile economy is not an easy one. It is not easy to handle five children at once no matter how rich you are.
“I need assistance, especially from companies that produce baby food.”
He appealed to Governor Okezie Ikpeazu of Abia State and Senator Moa Ohuabunwa representing Abia North senatorial district, Christian and non-governmental bodies to come to their aid in bringing up the children.
His words: “This is a thing of joy, not a thing of tears. It is God’s gift, well appreciated because God does not give His gifts with sorrows but rather with joy. We prayed for a child and after four years we had our first child Precious. But we never anticipated five at a go.”
In a brief interview, the mother of the quintuplets, Mrs Ifeoma Nwaka, 34, from Avomimi Enugu Ukwu, Njikoka council, Anambra State, but married to an Arochukwu man, Abia State, appealed to the Deputy Governor of Anambra State, Dr Nkem Okeke, to mobilise for the upkeep of the children as their provision store business in Imo State has collapsed since the scan revealed the number of children in her womb.
She said: ‘’When I was told the result of the scan, my heart bled, but since God knows why he granted me five babies at a time.
“I appeal to Anambra Deputy Governor, my brother, Dr. Nkem Okeke and our traditional ruler, Igwe Ralph Ekpe, as well as other good-spirited individuals and religious organisations to come to our aid, because our provision business in Owerri came to zero as my husband was running around.”
She said she was amazed to carry the five babies to delivery even as she said Professor Ikechebelu was ahead of all her fears, especially when he performed cervical cerclage three months into the pregnancy to prevent any eventualities.
She appealed, specially, to the wife of Anambra Governor, Chief Mrs Willie Obiano and her Non-Governmental Organization, CAFE, to come to her aid.
A fertility expert and Professor of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Nnamdi Azikiwe University Awka, Professor Joseph Ikechebelu, who handled the delivery, said this was the first time quintuplets were delivered in the facility.
He said: “We give all thanks to God for this miracle. The woman conceived 36 weeks ago following assisted reproductive technology and by God’s grace, all five embryos developed and matured to this date of delivery.
”One of the marvelous things in her pregnancy is that the woman remained in good health throughout the duration of her pregnancy and was on admission in this hospital for the past two weeks, essentially to allow more time for fetal maturity before her delivery today.
“This brings to over 130 babies delivered through this method in our facilities here in Awka and Nnewi.”
A consultant Obstetrician and Gynaecologist at the hospital, Dr. Duke Onyeabochukwu, joined the couple in soliciting assistance of well-meaning Nigerians.
According to him, “some facilities charge not less than N20,000 for babies to stay in incubator and now the five children will be in incubator for at least one week.
“That is why it is necessary for them to be assisted financially. I even learned that the man abandoned his job to assist his wife.”