Gender activist and humanist, Ene Ede tells the story of a telephone call from an Abuja based Nigerian family critically challenged with unplanned arrival of triplets she did so much to avoid if she had her way!
Good day everyone. Here is my encounter with the complexity of God Almighty simplified. The family of Agbo Obochi and Helen Agbo was blessed with triplets this historic month of April. I received the most desperate of calls for the ongoing distribution of palliatives or stimulus package towards the weekend. The confidence in the call was that this advocate of equity, (a reference to me) will use her platform to draw attention to the family that really needed COVD -16 palliatives. I discovered later that this family needed more than the ordinary palliatives because their situation is different and desperate.
Already, the family, due to their worsening economic fortunes decided to stop at 4 children. Mrs Agbo recounted how the family planning choice, however, failed them. In desperation to avoid additional child, she requested the doctor to assist her get rid of the pregnancy. The doctor persuaded her to keep the pregnancy. She recalled how she was unable to visit the hospital as an expectant mother, especially after she lost her job as a cleaner. Her husband fell victim of petty thieves who stole his tool of mobile hawking of cold drinks and ice cream. The theft of the bicycle further compounded the family’s material situation.
Above all, the pregnancy came with unusual complications. It was initially handled with prayers until a young woman offered the money for the scan. The scan revealed she was expecting twins. That news alone brought her under more psychological tension. She struggled through and carried the pregnancy to term. It was when she was being delivered of the babies through cesarean session (CS) that the third baby was discovered, making two boys and one girl. This is the background for embarking on special palliatives for this family now having to cope with the happy but burdensome task of seven (7) unplanned children.
The location they live is a typically overpopulated settlement but the issue of the most urgent attention is the leaking roof of the one small room the family is living and the unimaginable risks that poses to the triplets and the mother. It is not so much that the husband and wife are lazy. No. It is that they have simply lost their sources of family income over the years due to the squeeze affecting the informal sector.
More than anything else, this family presents us with a fantastic case study of mindless historical exclusion and marginalisation of the Other by the winners in “accumulation by dispossession”.
There is, therefore, moral, ideological and practical basis for any and all of us to contribute to helping out this family from avoidable misery and trauma. There are still unsettled issues about how to coordinate collation of assistance. While a more formal arrangement is being worked out, there is an account number that can be used for the moment. It is Helen Ada Agbo, Account Number 1389146022, Access Bank