A few months ago, a niece called to share a story about her roommate at university to see if I could be of any help. Her roommate just had an abortion – very ill and bleeding more than you would for a normal period. Julie wanted to know what she could do to help. The only proof that Julie had was the pills that Tola had taken, a brief online search revealed it was meant for abortion.
I thought the best way was to be nice to Tola and try to see if she could to go home to her parents or to go to the hospital in town. Julie did all that she could, they were closer than they ever had been. Tola eventually went to the hospital, she felt better later on.
Did I mention that Tola was 18 years old and a born again Christian? She goes to a Pentecostal church, the ones that preaches prosperity 24/7.
Aduke and I and a couple of other girls were good friends when I was in secondary school. Aduke’s home was the place to be for after school run-around, her mother was pleasant and welcoming. She is a good girl.
We ended up at the same college, only that I was a year ahead of her so we didn’t see each other as much as we used to in secondary school days. One day as I was combing through Atakumosa Market, Ilesa looking for iru, (locust beans) I ran into one of our mutual friends, she could not talk much as Aduke was at the Wesley Teaching Hospital, Ilesa fighting for her life, Bola said to me.
Getting to Wesley hospital, Aduke was lying in bed helplessly as if waiting for her last breath, she laid face down because her bottom was sore from lying in one spot for over 2 weeks, the look on her face was of guilt, shame and all the horrible feelings of someone who felt she had let the whole universe down.
Her mother who I had not seen in a long time burst out crying seeing me, I cried with her and the poor woman was saying something to suggest another reasons Aduke had let her family down.
Aduke was a good girl and 22 at the time of the abortion. She didn’t want to be a mother yet. She had bought some abortion tablets from the ‘chemist,’ this was prior to Akunyili’s amazing work at NAFDAC. There was no reliable place for Aduke to go to for open and honest advice.
A nurse during one of my visits said to me that what happened to my friend was the reason they tell us youngsters to go to church/mosque and be good girls. I had to ignore her because she was just being provocative, I knew that my friend was a good girl.
Nigeria parents’ world is the one where parents assume that their adolescent children do not feel any sexual attractions toward opposite sex, and even if they did, their religious leaders are the experts so the job is left for the church.
The pastors would do what they did best by yet another endless preachings about how to repel the most natural feelings in the world.
Aduke was later transferred to Ile Ife Teaching Hospital and stayed for a very long time at their Renal Ward, she was blessed with a doctor that was less judgemental, Dr Kola took on her case and did all he could and saved Aduke’s life.
Aduke is fine and doing well now, not without permanent scars though, she lost her hearing on both ears, limping on her left leg – most sadly, her womb was said to be perforated by the drugs so was removed.
Abortion is very controversial in Nigeria, actually everything is. It is illegal, well with a few clauses that really means the same thing, yet quack doctors are all over the place performing abortions, harmful abortion tablets are available in markets.
I wonder, wouln’t it be so much easier to just tell the truth and provide enough education to help youths through, also to make youths feel they can come home and ask their parents questions if ever they were stuck?