The father of the 11-month-old girl, Ifeoluwa, who was severely injured in the Kuje bomb blast, has showed up at her hospital bed with a soul-stirring story.
The girl’s father, Samson Olu, told hospital workers yesterday that Ifeoluwa’s mother, grandmother and uncle had all died in the blast, which killed at least 18 people on Friday.
The girl’s aunt was among 13 others who sustained injuries and were rushed to the National Hospital’s Trauma Centre by emergency rescue workers, Friday.
The trauma teams attending to the injured in the blast could not immediately identify the little girl’s parents among the nine corpses or injured persons brought to the hospital’s mortuary.
“We can’t find the parents for now”, Tayo Haastrup, the hospital’s chief information officer had said on Saturday as Ifeoluwa battled to stay alive. “The more important thing is now let’s just take care of the baby”, he added.
However, the story changed on Sunday as Mr. Olu appeared at the hospital, hopeful and prayerful for a divine intervention for his little girl, who at the moment, is without the love and care of a mother.
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, he said was undergoing a diploma programme at Nasarawa Polytechnic and had 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 for the day and were already walking home in a single file across the market when the bomb exploded, Olu 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 left in its trail 15 dead people, according to eyewitness accounts, including Ifeoluwa’s entire family but sparing her aunt.
Even though Olu lost his wife, mother-in-law and brother-in-law, it was observed that he had not shed a tear since Saturday.
When asked how he managed to stay strong in the face of the tragedy that befell his family, the man said he had not the time to do that.
“Three of them are dead. My daughter survived, and is very, very injured”, he said before adding that her right foot is damaged, and the fourth and fifth toes “are off”, her father.
“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.
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 stay with his little girl.
The girl’s aunt, who is also receiving treatment 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”.