As the Nurse caught in child trafficking scandal in Onitsha seeks justice.
Miss Chinwendu Okafor, a nurse who was nearly lynched following allegations that she stole a baby from a hospital and attempting to sell it at Upper Iweka area of Onitsha in Anambra state, has cried out for justice, insisting on her innocence.
Orient Weekend reports that a video clip showing Okafor’s encounter with a mob attempting to lynch her had gone viral on social media, generating mixed reactions.
Narrating her ordeal to reporters in Onitsha, Okafor, a staff member of Mother of Mercy Hospital, Okpoko, explained that she was carrying the baby of the woman that delivered through operation in her hospital when she was accosted by the mob who mistook her for a child trafficker.
She said, “The midwife and owner of the Mother of Mercy Maternity, had detailed me to take the baby with the father to another hospital where it would be placed on oxygen as it was not breathing well in our hospital.
“We drove to the hospital in the vehicle of the baby’s father but the nurses said the father and I should wait outside the gate even when I explained the baby’s condition to them.
“The nurses later told us that, after examining the baby, they tried calling their doctor but that he couldn’t be reached due to (telephone) network challenge.”
Okafor said the baby’s father demanded they should release his child to him so he could try another hospital in order not to lose the baby. As we drove to another hospital within the area, he requested we should alight from the car so he could look for where to park his car and catch up with us.
“It was while I waited for the father, the baby in my hand, that some passersby and those selling fruits around the area accosted me, demanding to know the owner of the baby.
“I explained to them that I was waiting for the father of the child who had gone to park his car, but all my explanations fell on deaf ears as they accused me of telling lies.
“People soon gathered, shouting that I stole a baby. Those with phones started taking video and still photographs of me while I cried for help,” Okafor sobbed.
She further revealed that the angry mob quickly rushed and called a female police officer to the scene. “The officer asked me to shut up and follow her to the Okpoko police station. I was about following her to the station when the father of the baby came. As he demanded to know what the matter was, the policewoman and two other officers insisted we must go to police station despite explanations on the critical condition of the child.
Okafor said they were later taken to Okpoko police station where one of the officers who had sympathy on baby, ordered the baby be taken to hospital.
She, however, said the baby later died at the hospital after the medical doctor discovered the blood was not coming out from its vein. “I cried and blamed the policewoman for not allowing us take the baby to the hospital on time. I told her that she would have handcuffed me and saved the child first. She could have, thereafter, arrested me if she found that I stole the baby. She, rather, started consoling me and the father.
Noting that she was devastated by the incident, the embattled nurse also begged the state government and security agents to carry out a proper investigation into the matter in order to exonerate her from the alleged crime which had already damaged her reputation.
“I call on government and security agents to investigate the matter in order to clear my reputation already destroyed by the trending video,” she decried.
Reacting, the midwife and owner of the Mother of Mercy Maternity, Okpoko, Mrs. Immaculata Egbuodike, described the victim as a dedicated staff, saying she was innocent of the allegations as speculated. “Chinwendu is one of my best staff, that was why I handed the baby to her to go with the father to the other hospital as the baby was not breathing well. I was surprised when I started hearing that they accused her of stealing the baby”, she said.
Meanwhile, the police public relations officer, Anambra state command, SP Haruna Mohammed, who confirmed the incident, however dismissed allegations of baby theft against the nurse as false.
“The fact in issue is that a woman delivered a premature baby through caesarean section (CS) and the doctor instructed the said nurse to carry the baby to another hospital in order to be kept inside an incubator in company of the child father.
“They were intercepted by some youth who suspected that the nurse stole the child on their way to the hospital at Upper Iweka. The youth were about to lynch her when police patrol team attached to Okpoko Division rescued and brought her to the station for discreet investigation.
“However, investigation revealed that the nurse is innocent and was actually sent by the doctor to carry the baby to another hospital shortly after the mother gave birth to the child through caesarean section where it was discovered to be a pre mature and needed to be kept inside an incubator in order to be alive. Unfortunately, the baby later died”, he said.