Wednesday, 3 August 2016

PRESS CONFERENCE ON BABY MICHAEL ALVEZ’s FIGHT WITH FACIAL HAEMANGIOMA

Good morning ladies and gentlemen of the press.

On behalf of Project Alert on Violence Against Women, Temitope Oluwagbemi and Aramide Kasunmu, I welcome you all to this press conference on baby Michael Alvez’s fight with facial haemangioma.

On March 16th, Kate Henshaw rescued very sick baby Michael and his mother of the streets of Lagoswith the help of two individuals named Mr. Temitope Oluwagbemi and Ms. Aramide Kasunmu, and got both mother and child admitted into LUTH. Kate an Ambassador of Project Alert, immediately called the Executive Director of Project Alert, Mrs. Josephine Effah-Chukwuma to intimate her on it and request Project Alert’s active involvement in the case.

On March 18th all parties met at LUTH, and had a meeting with Dr. Mofikoya, the consultant attending to baby Michael. Michael was diagnosed with ulcerated, infected facial haemangioma caused by vascular malfunction, worsened by the fact that night and day, sun and rain, his mother Mary was on the road with him, begging for help. Facial haemangioma is a benign condition (non-cancerous). The doctor informed us then, that Michael would have to be on admission for an initial one month for further tests to be carried out, and treatment to commence. That immediately raised the question: ‘’How would Baby Michael’s hospitalization and medical treatment be funded’’. It was at that point that the RESCUERS (Kate Henshaw, Project Alert, Temitope and Aramide) commenced a public fund raising to help keep Michael and his mother in hospital and pay the hospital bills. A dedicated account known as Project Alert. Baby Michael, was opened for donations.

Same day Baby Michael was admitted in LUTH, the Lagos State Social Welfare department, was notified. They referred us to the Social Welfare office in LUTH, headed by Mrs. Funmi Doherty. We had meetings with her and jointly we commenced work on seeing to the welfare and medical treatment of baby Michael in LUTH.

We would like to thank members of the public who donated their widow’s mite to help treat Michael. Your kind donations helped in paying hospital bills for the three (3) months Michael was on admission in LUTH, until when we had to take him out on June 20th, when nurses commenced strike action. Till date the strike is still on. We had to take Michael to Project Alert Shelter for continued care and close monitoring and strict adherence to administration of drugs and hospital appointment

WHY DID WE HAVE TO DO THAT YOU MAY ASK? WHY DIDN’T MICHAEL’s MOTHER, MARY TAKE HIM HOME AND CONTINUE CARING FOR HIM, APPRECIATIVE OF THE FACT THAT A GROUP OF PEOPLE HAD TAKEN UP HIS MEDICAL CARE?

This brings us to the concerns we have about the ability of Mary and her family to care for Michael, and whether it wouldn’t be best for Michael to be placed in a home. The concerns are as follows:

1.      Mary since last year had been begging on the streets of Lagos Island with the baby, claiming to seek financial help to enable her seek treatment for her son. She was even aired on Television Continental, TVC sometime in Nov/Dec 2015, which resulted in people donating. One single donation of N450k by a lady stood out. So how come Mary was still on the street with the child till March 2016 when Kate Henshaw and Temitope Oluwagbemi saw her? Why wasn’t the baby in hospital?
2.      While in hospital, we received reports from other mothers in the ward and the nurses about Mary’s restlessness and aggressiveness to all including her baby. On April 24th, she fought a hospital maid and threatened to burn down the ward. Mary is a commercial sex worker and got pregnant with Michael in the course of work. She felt caged in the hospital. She was sent out of the ward by the matron and nurses, and we had to beg that she be allowed in, after she promised to be of good behaviour.
3.      In same April, we went visiting the home address in Ikorodu that Mary gave us. We met her aged mother and brothers, all with no visible sign of means of livelihood. We found out that Mary had 3 other children, and was in the practice of disappearing from home for months,getting pregnant along the line, delivering the children and coming back home to dump them with her aged mother, who has a bad leg.
4.      On the night of June 9th, she walked out of the hospital, leaving her baby behind. In the early hours of June 10th, we received a call from the ward that baby Michael had been abandoned by his mother. Immediately we called the hospital Social Welfare department and her senior sister Syndi. We gathered at the hospital and met with Mrs. Doherty, Head Social Welfare, LUTH, where it was decided that Mary not be allowed back into the ward and the family pleaded that their mother and a 16 year old niece come stay with Michael in the ward instead. As the meeting was going on, Mary appeared very dirty and smelling.
5.      On June 20th, about a week after LUTH nurses had commenced their strike, we had to go pick Michael and mama from the ward, as all patients had been discharged and they were the last people remaining. Not wanting a roll back on the medical gains we had made on Michael’s health, and with a mother more interested in prostitution, we had to decide to take Michael to Project Alert shelter, where he still is with mama (his grandmother as his carer). This has moved our initial mission from only caring for Michael’s medical needs to feeding and housing Michael, mama and the 16 year old who assists mama in running around (going to market etc).

The road to full recovery is a long one for baby Michael. At the last hospital appointment we had with Dr. Mofikoya on Thursday July 21st, he stated that taking out the growth through surgery will leave a hole on Michael's face as according to him,the tissue under the growth is abnormal. He said the tissue is not healthy and that is why surgery is not a good option at LUTH. The treatment plan he thus has for Michael is continued administration of the drugsPropanolol (tablet) and Nylol Gel (cream)for gradual compression and shrinking. But that according to him, will take a long process.  He used an example of a patient (a boy) he has been treating since the child was a baby and the child is now 10yrs and they are still on it. He said that is the treatment they can give Baby Michael in LUTH.

Thus with this long road to discovery for Michael; a clearly unfit mother; a grandmother who is not strong enough and capable of caring for Michael; and the need for good and hygienic management of Michael’s ailment, WHERE SHOULD MICHAEL BE PLACED? WHO SHOULD CARE FOR MICHAEL? We the RESCUERS are committed to baby Michael’s medical costs. However the social welfare issues surrounding his mother, circumstances of birth, and the family in general are HUGE.


Thank you and GOD BLESS.

Thursday, 29 October 2015

Press Conference On The Death Of Dr. Hestianna Idiodi-Thomas



By
Concerned Women Voices
October 29, 2015



Ladies and gentlemen of the press, you are welcome to this Press Conference being organized by Concerned Women Voices to ask pertinent questions on #WhatHappenedToDrThomas, the young female Consultant Paediatrician and mother of two who died as a result of fatal injuries sustained in her home.
Concerned Women Voices is a coalition of women rights organizations, professional women, and female celebrities who are concerned about the seeming increase in cases of violent incidences affecting women and girls both in private and public life.
Last week Friday, the social media was agog with reports of suspected acts of domestic violence that resulted in the death of Dr. (Mrs) Hestianna Idiodi-Thomas, a Consultant Paediatrician with Lagos University Teaching Hospital, LUTH. The reports stated that the late doctor was rushed into the Accident and Emergency Ward of LUTH in the early hours of Tuesday October 13th with injuries on her head and other bruises.  At the hospital, she was declared dead. While the social media and the print media reported suspected acts of domestic violence as having led to the young doctor’s death, speculations attributed to the Nigerian Medical Association and the Medical Women Association stated that it was a case of suicide. The speculations said Dr. Idiodi Thomas was a ‘’psychiatric patient, who did not seek medical attention’’.
As Concerned Women Voices, we are not interested in hearsay and speculations but the FACTS. We do not want the truth to die with Dr. Idiodi-Thomas. We want her dead body to tell the true story of what happened in her home that fateful night/morning.



The facts as we know it are as follows:
1.     The unfortunate incident occurred at her residence.
2.     Dr. Babafemi Thomas, her husband was the last to see her alive (the night before) and first to see her fatally injured in the early hours of the morning.
3.     She was rushed to the hospital by her husband, Dr. Babafemi Thomas where she was declared dead.
4.     According to the police she had marks on her body, suggestive of violence. Also colleagues at the hospital said she had a fractured skull and her head was swollen and unrecognizable.
5.     Up on till three days before the incident, colleagues of hers said she was at work.
6.     Some parents whose children she treated and operated upon have commented on her dedication to work and her cheeriness.
With these facts in mind, we as Concerned Women Voices have the following questions to ask:
·      If Dr. Idiodi-Thomas was indeed a ‘’psychiatric patient’’ how sick was she? And why was she still allowed to treat patients (sick children) up until 3 days before her death?
·      As a medical doctor and husband to a mentally sick person, what conscious effort did Dr. Babafemi Thomas take to ensure that the wife comes to no harm, and that she was seeking medical attention?
·      Why are there three versions out there as to how she ‘’committed suicide’’? Version one she jumped from the balcony. Version two: the husband found her in front of their bedroom door; and version three, she jumped from the water tanker.
·      As husband, care giver and a medical doctor living with a ‘’psychiatric patient’’, didn’t Dr. Babafemi Thomas think he has the responsibility of  ensuring that all doors are carefully locked and keys kept away, to prevent possible suicidal acts as being projected here?
·      Have the neighbours been spoken to about the way and manner the couple lived and if they had on any occasion heard noises or fights from their flats?
·      Has it been confirmed that if the Thomases lived on the ground floor or first/second floor of the building in order to ascertain the jump down theory?
·      Did Dr. Babafemi Thomas in shock cry out for help and assistance from neighbours when he found his wife unresponsive, severely injured and almost dead?
·      Living in a compound of 5-6 flats, and Dr. Idiodi-Thomas having jumped from her flat or from the water tank, how come other neighbours didn’t didn’t hear a fall or a big sound that could have attracted them to come out?
·      As doctors, is it not unethical to divulge patient information as the NMA has quickly done in the case of one of their own?

We believe the NMA and LUTH are compromised in this instance. They are interested parties and as such, should step aside for an INDEPENDENT AUTOPSY AND CORONER’S INQUEST TO BE CARRIED OUT. They cannot sit and judge on one of their own.  We are therefore calling for a thorough unbiased police investigation into the questionable and violent death of this young female doctor. 

We are specifically calling for THE CONSTITUTION OF AN INDEPENDENT GROUP OF PATHOLOGISTS, IF POSSIBLE FROM OUTSIDE LAGOS STATE, TO CONDUCT A FRESH AUTOPSY. 

We are indeed concerned about the seeming increase in reported cases of women being injured or dying in their homes under questionable circumstances. The home should not be a battle field of sorts. It should be a safe place for every man, woman and child.
Signed
Concerned Women Voices

Sunday, 17 May 2015

PRESS RELEASE AGAINST REPORT OF NGOs AGAINST ABORTION BY PREGNANT FEMALE VICTIMS OF BOKO HARAM

Project Alert's attention was drawn to an on line report in The Herald Newspaper of today May 17th in which a so called coalition of NGOs in Lagos known as the  Foundation for African Heritage, FACH, stated that it is "unreasonable and illogical for the girls to subject the girls to a traumatic, violent and life threatening abortion  process. This statement was made by the the Director of FACH, Mr. Sonnie Ekwowusi while donating some cash to NEMA to assist with the girls rehabilitation.

The donation made by FACH does not give them the right to decide what is in the best interest of the girls who have been subjected to months of unimaginable physical, sexual and psychological terror.  What greater trauma, violence and life threatening situation can the women/girls face than what they were subjected to during the months of their captivity?

Why do we we always play politics with the lives  of women and girls? The decision whether to have abortion or not is the EXCLUSIVE DECISION of the girls in close consultations with their immediate families. NON OF US have the faintest clue of the extent and depth of physical and psychological pain and torture these girls and their families went through, thus NON OF US have the right to decide for them.

This is indeed the ONE TIME, these girls would have to decide through put this nightmarish experience. They never decided to be kidnapped. They never decided to be raped brutally and severally by their abductors; and for sure they never decided to get pregnant. THIS IS THE ONE TIME THEY GET TO DECIDE.

THE law on abortion in Nigeria definitely does not hold water in this case. So also should religious sentiments not hold sway. For once as a people let's be real and not hypocritical. For as many of the girls who want to keep the pregnancy should be supported to do so; and for as many who want to abort it, should be supported to do so. THIS IS NOT THE TIME OR OCCASION FOR POLITICS OF ANY KIND.

Signed

Josephine Effah-Chukwuma
Executive Director
Project Alert on Violence Against Women

Monday, 19 January 2015

Unmarried 60-year-old bricklayer rapes pupil

A 60-year-old bricklayer, Segun Benson, has been accused of raping a primary six pupil on Mommoh Street in the Agege area of Lagos State.

In the course of the rape, the victim’s private parts were said to have been damaged.

Benson, who has an aged mother, was said to have never been married, while attempts by his mother to get him a wife had continually been turned down.

After he allegedly ravished the victim, he was said to have sent her out, despite the flow of blood from her private parts.

Residents were said to have sighted the victim in a public bathroom writhing in pain.

After bleeding from her private parts for a while, the 14-year-old was said to have collapsed.

She reportedly told concerned residents that Segun tricked her into his room with N50 and raped her.
When PUNCH Metro visited the area on Wednesday, he met a group of relatives still discussing the incident.

A resident and an eyewitness, who identified herself simply as Iya Egun, told PUNCH Metro she initially thought the victim was having her menstrual flow.

She said, “I saw her writhing in pain in a bathroom. She said she wanted to defecate, but I saw blood coming out of her private parts.

“I raised the alarm and when other people arrived at the scene, she said it was Segun that raped her.”
A relative, Okunloye Kehinde, said the victim’s private parts had been damaged.

He said, “I got a call around 2pm that fateful Saturday. When I got there, I saw a crowd of people around her. I saw a container filled with blood. Even her clothes were drenched in blood.”

Kehinde said he went with the victim’s father to report the incident at the Elere Police Division.

The police, in company with some relatives of the victim, arrested the suspect in his house.

Our correspondent spoke with the victim who walked with some difficulty.

She said, “I am in primary six. On Friday, he gave me N50 to buy sweet for myself. He then asked me to caress his private parts. When I told him I would tell my daddy, he said I should not go home.
“He took me to his house around Railway Line where he raped me. I was there from 3pm till around 7pm. I started bleeding from his house and when I got home the blood did not stop. But I kept it secret until Saturday when people saw it.”

Her mother, Taibat, said she had never met the suspect before.

“I have seven kids and she is the third child. I was sleeping when people called me that my daughter had been raped. I have never met the man before though he lives on the street. The government should take over the case and do what is right,” she said.
Our correspondent reached out to the suspect’s mother, Mrs. Tinuke Benson, who is in her nineties.
The woman, while fighting back tears, pleaded with PUNCH Metro to intervene on her behalf because the suspect was her only son.

She said, “Segun is my only child. I had four other children and they are all dead. He is the reason for my living. I don’t know why he did what he did.

“Each time I tried to get him a wife, he refused and told me he was old enough to look for a woman for himself. He said that many times without getting a wife. Please help me because he’s my hope.”
When contacted, the Police Public Relations Officer, Kenneth Nwosu, said the case had been transferred to the State Criminal Investigation Department, Yaba.
He said, “The victim has also been taken to the hospital for necessary tests and the suspect is in custody.”

Source: Punch

Saturday, 10 January 2015

‘UNILAG graduate’ rapes nine-year-old, flees

December 2, 2014 was a sad day for Mrs. Bilikis Balogun. That day, she learnt that her innocent nine-year-old girl, Nofisat, had been sexually assaulted by their 30-year-old neighbour, Ikechukwu Obasi, while she was in the market.

“He has fled his apartment since the incident. But I just want him to face justice and get punishment for what he did to my daughter,” she said.

“I have never thought that the man could do that to my daughter. He was such a friendly person in our compound. All I know about him is that he is a ‘Yahoo-Yahoo guy’ (a description for young men who specialise in internet fraud).

According to Bilikis, she was in the market when her daughter came crying, and told her the story about how their neighbour took advantage of her at their 83, Aina Street, Pako Aguda home, in Surulere, Lagos.

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Nofisat, a quiet and shy girl, whose eyes showed the painful memory of the experience she had gone through, told our correspondent that she did not suspect anything when Ikechukwu came into the room where she was reading in their apartment and gave her a N1,000 note to go and buy food for him.

She said, “I bought the food and took it to him. But because the food vendor did not give me back N850 change, he said I should go back and collect it. When I brought the change back to him, he locked the door.

“He then used a cloth to cover my mouth and I could not shout. He then carried me to the bed and did it. When he finished and I was bleeding, he said I should not tell anybody.”
Ikechukwu

Later that afternoon, the girl narrated what Ikechukwu did to her to another resident of the compound, who spotted her crying in front of Ikechukwu’s room.

The neighbour told her to go and report the incident to her mother in the market.

But by the time they got back, Ikechukwu had locked his room and fled. He has not been seen since then.

Ikechukwu’s phone number which was provided to our correspondent, has not been available as well.
However, our correspondent visited his Facebook page with the name Eyekay Da Stika Obasi, where he posted photos up until January 2, 2015. He had yet to respond to a message sent to him as of the time of filing this report.

Ikechukwu’s Facebook page states that he attended the University of Lagos and studied Psychology even though this could not be verified as a result of the fact that he did not state when he graduated.
The case was reported at the Aguda Police Division, Surulere, but the police said they had been unable to take any action because the culprit had fled.

However, Ikechukwu’s family had approached Nofisat’s family, pleading to pay monetary compensation to settle the matter.

“How can they tell me they want to pay N40,000 so that I would forget my daughter was raped? All I want is justice for my daughter. They have refused to produce the man,” Nofisat’s mother said.
When our correspondent spoke with the investigating police officer in charge of the case, he explained that he was still on the trail of Ikechukwu.

“We cannot refer to the case as a rape, it is defilement. But in the meantime, the two families are trying to settle. I have asked the family of the victim to come to my office but they have not come,” the IPO, who pleaded anonymity, said.

Child Rights Activist, Mrs. Esther Ogwu, has called upon the police to do more than just tell the family of the suspect to produce him.

She said, “The police should do a thorough job of tracking down the young man. Who knows the kind of fetish thing he might have done to the girl?

“This is a lesson to parents to be wary of neighbours they leave their children alone with.”

Source: Punch

Thursday, 8 January 2015

Imam rapes 22-year-old, shaves hairs in Ogun

An Imam, Rabiu Abdulquadri, has been arrested by the Ogun State Police Command for shaving the pubic hair of a 22-year-old-girl and collecting her nails under the pretext of preparing a favour charm for her.

The Imam was also accused of raping the victim, Elizabeth (pseudonym), in his house in Abule-Ojo, Obafemi Owode Local Government Area, Ogun State

PUNCH Metro learnt that Abduquadri, popularly known as Alfa Cisse, approached the victim, who was returning from her place of work around 8.30pm on December 28.

The Imam was said to have stopped the victim at a roundabout in the Ofada area of the state, claiming he had a vision about her.

He was said to have ordered her to join an on-going prayer in his mosque before he could reveal the vision.

Elizabeth, who claimed she succumbed to Alfa Cisse’s bidding unconsciously, said he took her to his apartment after she dropped her luggage at home.

In the night, the cleric allegedly instructed her to strip herself naked and shaved strands of hair in her head, armpit and private parts, after which he had a carnal knowledge of her.

It was also learnt that he told her to come back for a charm that would bring favour to her the following day.

When our correspondent visited the victim on Wednesday, she said, “He and some clerics prayed for me. In the night, he woke me up, collected my nails, hairs and slept with me not minding my menstrual discharge. He said he would use them to prepare a charm for me to get favour.

“I did not realise what I was doing untill the next day when I returned home and my sister scolded me for not sleeping at home. That was when it occurred to me that I had been used.

“He even demanded more hairs when I got there the following day. Since then, I have been feeling weak and I can’t sleep in the night.”

Elizabeth’s uncle, Mr. Oluwaseun Idowu, said he had spent a lot of money on the victim, whose health reportedly aggravated after the encounter with the cleric.

Idowu said he eventually located the Imam’s house after which policemen from the Owode Police Division arrested him.

PUNCH Metro learnt that Alfa Cisse confessed to the police that he actually took the girl’s pubic hairs, although he denied having sex with her.

The Ogun State Police Public Relations Officer, Muyiwa Adejobi, confirmed the incident.

He said, “The suspect was paraded by the state Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye, today (Wednesday).

“He will be charged to court soon.”

Source: Punch

Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Over 500 child defilement cases reported in Lagos State in 2014, says AG

Lagos – Mr Ade Ipaye, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, on Wednesday, said over 500 cases of child defilement cases were reported in the state this year.

Ipaye disclosed this at a Human Rights Essay and Debate Competition organised for private and public schools in Lagos by the Directorate for Citizen’s Rights.

The competiotion was part of activities marking the 2014 World Human Rights Day with the theme: “The Rights of the Child.’’

The commissioner said “this year’s theme was carefully picked in the light of the fact that in the last one year, more than 500 cases of defilement of minors were reported in Lagos.

“We know that children contend with several challenges on daily basis, however, the onus is on parents and guardians to ensure that each child is given necessary care and attention.’’

Ipaye said that the principle of human rights should be inculcated in the youths at their earliest formative stage.

He added that this would ensure that youths imbibed the principles of fairness, non-discrimination, inclusiveness and respect for fellow-beings, irrespective of age.

The Lagos State attorney-general said that the success of all the laws and policies protecting the rights of children depended largely on the cooperation of members of the society.

“I will like to use the opportunity of this occasion to enjoin all residents to partner with government in ensuring that the rights of our children are safeguarded,’’ he pleaded.

In her lecture, a human rights lawyer, Mrs Funmi Falana, said that the Child Rights Act 2003 had not been domesticated in 12 states of the federation.

Falana urged government at all levels to intensify efforts at improving the standard of education through effective funding, sound and workable policies.

She said “children’s education in Nigeria is nothing to boast about. Education is beginning to become commercialised.

“Pondering over the state of the Nigerian child, my heart aches because of the environment they are living and the state of their education.

“Some of these children roam the streets with tattered clothes, with no help from any quarter, some do not even believe in education again but I believe all these can be corrected with the help of government.’’ (NAN)

Lagos – Mr Ade Ipaye, Lagos State Attorney-General and Commissioner for Justice, on Wednesday, said over 500 cases of child defilement cases were reported in the state this year.
Ipaye disclosed this at a Human Rights Essay and Debate Competition organised for private and public schools in Lagos by the Directorate for Citizen’s Rights.
The competiotion was part of activities marking the 2014 World Human Rights Day with the theme: “The Rights of the Child.’’
The commissioner said “this year’s theme was carefully picked in the light of the fact that in the last one year, more than 500 cases of defilement of minors were reported in Lagos.
“We know that children contend with several challenges on daily basis, however, the onus is on parents and guardians to ensure that each child is given necessary care and attention.’’
Ipaye said that the principle of human rights should be inculcated in the youths at their earliest formative stage.
He added that this would ensure that youths imbibed the principles of fairness, non-discrimination, inclusiveness and respect for fellow-beings, irrespective of age.
The Lagos State attorney-general said that the success of all the laws and policies protecting the rights of children depended largely on the cooperation of members of the society.
“I will like to use the opportunity of this occasion to enjoin all residents to partner with government in ensuring that the rights of our children are safeguarded,’’ he pleaded.
In her lecture, a human rights lawyer, Mrs Funmi Falana, said that the Child Rights Act 2003 had not been domesticated in 12 states of the federation.
Falana urged government at all levels to intensify efforts at improving the standard of education through effective funding, sound and workable policies.
She said “children’s education in Nigeria is nothing to boast about. Education is beginning to become commercialised.
“Pondering over the state of the Nigerian child, my heart aches because of the environment they are living and the state of their education.
“Some of these children roam the streets with tattered clothes, with no help from any quarter, some do not even believe in education again but I believe all these can be corrected with the help of government.’’ (NAN)
- See more at: http://www.vanguardngr.com/2014/12/500-child-defilement-cases-reported-lagos-state-2014-says-ag/#sthash.YqZxnNJO.dpuf

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