The ambience which pervaded home of the Oyeyemis on Sunday was an admixture of joy and sadness. Our correspondent who left Lagos early to the Oyeyemis abode tucked in Ayetoro, a sleepy, agrarian community in the Yewa North Local Government Area of Ogun State, observed that a christening scheduled for that day was briefly held.
Penultimate Sunday, the household of the Oyeyemis was thrown into mourning when 24-year-old Ikimot died at the General Hospital Ayetoro, after she was delivered of triplets; two girls and a boy. An indigene of the town earlier contacted on the phone through the help of a charity group, Givers Supportive Foundation, vigorously combed through dwellings in Saala quarters with our correspondent in tow to seek the widower, Kabiru.
The grief-stricken Ikimot’s husband was lost in thought when he eventually emerged on a bike holding a three-year-old boy later identified as their first child.
Forlorn in looks, Kabiru told Saturday PUNCH that his whole world came crashing down around him on Sunday, April 17, 2022, when the news of his wife’s death was broken to him after she was delivered of triplets,
Speaking in Yoruba, he said, “I am from Ayetoro and my father is a farmer while my mother is a petty trader. They stay at Obada in the Imeko-Afon Local Government Area of Ogun State. I left school at Junior Secondary School 3 for lack of finances. I later trained as a generator technician. I was still in training when I met Ikimot. We courted for some time and married five years ago. She was a tailor.’’
The generator repairer who tried hard to hold back tears told Saturday PUNCH that three years after their first child, they decided to try for another pregnancy.
Kabiru said, “I noticed that the day my wife became pregnant, she was extremely happy. Her joy doubled when a (ultrasound) scan showed that we were expecting twins despite our poor financial situation. She also jokingly told me that she would see me often in the house because my generator work often takes me out of the house late at night. She went to stay with my parents at Obada because I wanted her to be well cared for. I checked on her every three days. It was when she called me that she was having labour pains that I went there with a friend to take her to the hospital. The doctor told me at the General Hospital Ayetoro that she would be delivered of the babies through a caesarean section. I was billed N200, 000 but I got only N40,000 as a deposit before they started the operation. They wheeled her into the theatre when I brought the money. After some time, they told me that my wife gave birth to triplets. I was surprised because the scan we did showed we were expecting twins.
“I asked them where my wife was and they told me to be patient and that she would soon be out of the theatre. They came out with the babies after a while and I asked again where my wife was but I got the same response. Around 7pm, they told me she would need blood and asked me to pay N7000. We did but they said the blood was not enough and that she needed more blood. I was also told that she had complications. I was surprised. She only went into labour and we ensured she attended antenatal at the primary health centre in the community until she went to Obada. She was brought out and seated at a corner where she was given oxygen therapy. I pitied her state but I was helpless. She merely glanced briefly at me while on oxygen. At 11pm, she died. I wept bitterly when the doctor confirmed what happened. My parents and in-laws who were also at the hospital cried uncontrollably and my mother-in-law repeatedly stamped her feet on the ground and shed tears nonstop. I got more heartbroken seeing her in that state. The hospital told us to make arrangements to take her corpse away. I sourced N60,000 and the corpse was released to us. She was buried the following day.’’
Kabiru added that his sadness increased each time she realised that the triplets had no mother to cater to them.
He stated, “I know it’s not an easy task catering to triplets and providing for their needs. But the situation will undoubtedly be a tough one with the death of their mother. The babies are gifts from God but their mother’s death has created grief in me. She was a good lady who never gave me any problems despite the fact that we struggle to make ends meet. I would be the happiest man alive if she was alive to witness the naming of the babies. Our son has asked after his mother thrice since Sunday and I tell him that she travelled and would soon return. I was unable to sleep well on the night of the incident. I left home that day to our family house but wept throughout the night.’’
According to him, with the shortage of repair jobs as a generator technician, he fears the future for himself, son and the new babies.
He noted, “I need help to be a reliable father to my children. I have yet to fully be my own boss since I still report to my master pending when I would do ‘freedom’ (Graduation). But I have completed my apprenticeship. How many generator repair jobs will I do to take care of the children? I need help to open a generator spare parts shop. I can be using profits from it and other repair jobs to cater to their needs. I don’t want to live far from the babies. I want to be responsible to them in memory of my beloved wife. This is a mixture of joy and sorrow. My wife bore triplets but she didn’t live to take care of them. This is clearly a tough one for me.’’
Kabiru became pensive at this stage with his eyes teary.
His father, Mr Moshood Oyeyemi, who was within earshot while the interview lasted, described his late daughter-in-law as an amazing lady, stating that death took a promising lady away early.
Moshood, who also spoke in Yoruba, said he was at the hospital the night Ikimot passed away.
He added, “We tried our best. We did what we were asked to do. It’s sad that she died. It’s painful. I only hope that help will come for the children she left behind because my son, who is their father, doesn’t have the financial strength to take care of them. I will be exceedingly happy if they are not allowed to suffer. Ikimot was a good lady but it’s painful how she died after she gave birth to the babies.’’
Flanked by some family members who were having talks possibly related to the development at the backyard of his house, the deceased’s father, Wahab, politely requested his visitors to give him a few minutes to attend to our correspondent. The dark-skinned man was at first troubled upon realising that the visit was about his daughter’s death. He, however, calmed a bit after noticing that the visitors included the indigene and his friend who jointly assisted hugely in locating the house.
He said, “We were at the general hospital together. She was hale and hearty. She prayed for her husband that day at the hospital. I was there. She was my third child. I cried so much because her death was too painful. It’s only God that can lessen our burden. I don’t know how help can come for the babies. There is no support anywhere. Even their father has no stable job. I am a commercial bike rider. Will I use proceeds from bike-riding to take care of them? The christening of the babies is today (Sunday). I didn’t attend the ceremony because I was too sad. I would have been so happy if she was alive to witness the naming of the babies and carry them. I wouldn’t mind to wear whatever clothes I have not also minding whether I have money or not but death took my dear daughter away suddenly.’’
The interview ended abruptly as Wahab broke into tears with our correspondent and family members present consoling him. His wife, Olufunke, who saw our correspondent go to the backyard with the two indigenes to talk to her husband, was perturbed when Saturday PUNCH approached her for an interview.
Tears welled up in her eyes when she narrated how hard it was for her to believe her daughter was no more.
Drained and distraught, the woman who also spoke in Yoruba said she visited Obada where her late daughter stayed with her in-laws before she went into labour and was immediately taken back to the General Hospital Ayetoro, where she was delivered of the babies.
“I came to the hospital from asalatu (Prayer session in Islam) when some people called to congratulate me that she had given birth. I was surprised when the doctor said she gave birth to triplets. The scan indicated that she was pregnant with twins. They said she was being taken care of and I waited with others. She was on oxygen at the time and they asked if I was her mother. I replied yes and they asked me to wait outside because only one person could stay with her and the babies. I obeyed. At 11pm, my husband went into the hospital and I overheard him discussing with the doctor to know if her condition was improving. I just heard, “Sorry, we lost her.’’ That was all I could remember before sorrow overshadowed me where I stood. I cried my eyes out, ’’ she spoke weakly.
Olufunke added that she was usually worried anytime she remembered how she would help in taking care of the babies her daughter left behind. “During the naming of the babies, I was in a pensive mood. I have no job at the moment. I once ran a provision store before things went down. I tried to regain financial power but things have not been easy for me. Now, my daughter’s death and care for the babies have compounded my worry. I pray my strength doesn’t fail me at this crucial time,” she noted.
Appeal for help
Our correspondent obtained a letter signed by one Dr Onifade M.O, presented as the medical officer in charge at the General Hospital Ayetoro.
The letter dated April 19, 2022, was titled, “To whom it may concern, medical report; Re: Oyeyemi Ikimot/24 years/female,’’ solicited financial help for the family.
It read, “The above named person was a known patient of our facility. On April 17, 2022, she delivered a set of triplets via caesarean section. Unfortunately, she passed away shortly after giving birth due to complications of hypertension in pregnancy she has been having during the pregnancy. The children she left behind would be needing every help they could get. That is why we are soliciting assistance. Kindly help in any way you can. Thank you.’’
A source at the hospital who spoke with our correspondent on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to speak with the press said the late lady exhibited pregnancy-induced hypertension among other factors before her death.
The source said, “Her case was multifactorial. She was referred to the hospital. The lady exhibited pre-eclampsia and was booked for surgery. She was to be coming to the hospital every week to review her case. But for over three weeks she defaulted. She didn’t show up. The hospital tried to deliver the babies through caesarean section when they rushed her in for an emergency. Many things were wrong. Perhaps, she could have taken some drugs anywhere as she didn’t report to the hospital as advised.’’
At 6:12pm when our correspondent was set to leave Ayetoro for Lagos, some family members merrily thronged into the house accommodating the tiny tots to catch a glimpse of them.