Lois Apollos was born in Mubi Local Government Area of a Adamawa State 18 years ago, but left home in 2015 in search of better life in Gombe. With only primary school education, she got a job as a restaurant attendant on the outskirts of Gombe metropolis, but later fell out with the restaurant owner, one Madam Rhoda, and left for Alkaleri in Bauchi State.
“There, I met the father of my child, Lawal,who sells Suya at a place called Junction Masuri. I later moved to his one-room apartment,” Lois said.
“When I told him that I was pregnant, he agreed to be responsible, but when he was convinced by his friends, he asked me to go and find the father of my child,” she added.
Confused on where to go next, Lois returned to her parents in Mubi, but according to her, they sent her away, saying they would not harbour her with a pregnancy outside wedlock. She then returned to Gombe, where she revealed her predicament to one Haladu, a yam seller at New Mile 3 along the Gombe-Yola highway, and confided in him that she would also abandon the child after delivery. But Haladu introduced her to a woman, Hadiza, who agreed to take the baby when she put to bed.
“When Hadiza came, she told me that she wanted the baby. I thought she was joking, but when the pregnancy reached nine months, she persuaded me to go to a hospital where a medical doctor induced the labour and I delivered the baby. After the delivery, she settled the bills and gave me N10, 000 and left for an unknown destination with the child. She also asked me not to return to Mile 3.” But Lois returned to Mile 3, and people started asking her about the baby.
“With no answer to their enquiries, I had to leave the place, to stay with my friend at a village called ACG. But for three weeks after delivering the baby I could not sleep well, so I returned to Haladu and asked him to take me to the woman who took my baby away,” she said. The police later helped her trace Hadiza and recovered the baby.
“The police recovered the child from the woman and gave me a letter to the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare which reunited me with my child and brought us to this village in the ministry’s official vehicle,” she said.
The police then invited Lawal, the father of the child, who agreed to take responsibility for the child’s upkeep, but he was not seen afterwards.
“When the police invited him, he came, and agreed that he was responsible for my pregnancy and would now take responsibility for the child’s upkeep. Hadiza was crying when they took the child from her, begging us to leave him to her,” she added.
When Daily Trust visited Lois at the ACG village along the Gombe-Yola highway earlier this week, she was cuddling her one-month-old baby under a tree at about noon, singing softly. She said she was starving, having not eaten since the previous night. Lois also said the baby is not named yet.
“Since my reunion with the child and subsequent relocation to this village about two weeks ago, neither the officials of the ministry nor the father has visited me. Baby is ill and I don’t have enough breast milk to give him. Because he was away from me for about a month, the breast milk has ceased and I do not eat good food to stimulate the flow,” she said.
When Daily Trust contacted the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, the officials denied knowledge of the case. The Director of Social Welfare at the ministry, Mr. Endiley Mailafiya, said his office was not aware of the case.
However, the Gombe State Police Command Police Public Relations Officer, DSP Obed Mary Malum, confirmed the incident, saying the command actually recovered and handed over the child to his mother, Lois.
“We have since reunited the baby with his real mother through the state Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare,” DSP Malum said.