By Izunna Okafor, Awka
What could be better described as a discord has trailed the transfer of Idimmachukwu, the nine-year-old girl who was assaulted by her guardian, from the hospital where she was hospitalized in Anambra State to another hospital in Asaba, Delta State, on Monday.
Recall that the media space was awashed over the weekend by videos of a nine-year-old house-help who was battered, manhandled and inflicted with varied degrees of injury by her guardian, one Mrs. Chinyere Ifesinachi, who lived with her in Nkpor, Anambra State.
The underage house-help was, however, rescued and hospitalized, while her guardian and her husband were traced and arrested through the intervention of different stakeholders and institutions, including the Anambra State Ministry of Women Affairs, the Anambra State Police Command, an NGO, the Save and Secure the Child Initiative, among others.
It was, however, surprising to many actors in the matter as a skit maker, Lord Zeus shared a post on social media, announcing the transfer of the child from the hospital where she was in Anambra State to another hospital, known as First Delta American Hospital, Asaba, in Delta State.
Although, the skit maker did not give detailed information about the reason behind the transfer of the child from the initial Awka-based hospital where she was being treated, to another hospital outside the State; he only said he didn’t like the hospital.
Announcing the transfer of the child on his social media handle with a video of the girl in the current hospital, Zeus wrote: “Not to risk sounding derogatory, but I don’t like the hospital she was initially kept at Awka. Everything there including the beds look old.
“So we took her to First Delta American Hospital, Asaba. The little girl is traumatized, she fidgets when you touch her. The hospital suggested getting her a therapist, to overcome the trauma…”
Howbeit, when contacted by this reporter, the Anambra State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Ify Obinabo, said she was not aware of the transfer of the child from the hospital to another hospital, as everything was done outside her knowledge and without her consent.
She wondered why the child would be moved out of the hospital to another hospital without her being aware of it, despite her Ministry’s commitments and full involvement on the matter.
She recalled the efforts so far made by her office in ensuring the general wellbeing and welfare of the child and her family there at the hospital in the last few days, and also recounted her Ministry’s efforts in the general pursuit of the case, including the arrest and the incarceration of the suspect, whom, she revealed, would be charged to court on Wednesday, May 17.
“So, it is very horrible for the people to have transferred that child out of the hospital without our consent and outside our knowledge,” she said.
Commissioner Obinabo further explained that indigenes of Nnewi had earlier expressed interest in bankrolling the hospital bills of the child and caring for her, while they (the Nnewi indigenes) also nursed plan with the Chief Medical Director (CMD) of the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital (NAUTH), Nnewi, Dr. Joseph Ugboaja, to transfer her down to NAUTH and be treated there.
Recall that the young girl in question, Miss Idimmachukwu, is a native of Nnewi.
“Anambra State Government is capable of caring for the child and settling her hospital bills, as we have always done for other victims in the past. However, the indigenes of Nnewi expressed interest in bankrolling the bills themselves.
“Lord Zeus or whosever they said the comedian is, had never paid or been paying hospital bills for us. So, I wonder how and why he just came from nowhere and transfer the child from the hospital to another hospital, without our knowledge and consent. That is quite disappointing,” she said.
On his own part, when contacted, a stakeholder in Nnewi and member representing Nnewi North Constituency in the Anambra State House of Assembly, Hon. Nonso Smart Okafor, said he was also not aware of the transfer of the child to another hospital.
While revealing that he also got to know about the said transfer of the child after it had happened, the legislator attested that Nnewi indigenes were fully capable, ready and interested in bankrolling the bills of the young girl and ensuring her welfare to any level. He said they also warned against anybody using the child to beg for money in anyway, for her treatment or for anything else.
He, however, expressed his anger that the girl was moved to another hospital, even outside the State, without any of the Nnewi indigenes and stakeholders being informed of such move. He said he also contacted the Commissioner for Women Affairs, under whose custody the child was, but was surprised to hear that she, too, was not aware of the move before it happened.
“I was infuriated about how and why such thing happened without our knowledge. So, my brother, there was not consensus by the Nnewi indigenes to transfer the child from that hospital to another hospital in Asaba,” he said.
When contacted, the State Principal, Save and Secure the Child Initiative, which is a lead NGO following the matter from day one, Mr. Kingsley Obi said the organisation was also not aware of the transfer of the child, and that he was also never informed of any such plan.
He said he led his team to the hospital to visit the girl as they had always done on daily basis, only to hear that she was no longer in the hospital.
247ureports went further to contact the Spokesperson of the Anambra State Police Command, DSP Tochukwu Ikenga, who also
said the Police was not aware of or involved in the said transfer of the young girl to another hospital.
The Police Public Relations Officer, however, explained that he was aware that the child was discharged today from the hospital, but said he did not know whether or not she was taken to another hospital. He also clarified that the child was discharged to her parents and handed over to them as well.
Furthermore, 247ureports contacted the mother of the child, Mrs Chinyere Chukwujekwu, who confirmed the Police submission, that her child was truly discharged to her.
Asked why the child was discharged and transfered to another hospital, the victim’s mother explained that it was the management of the hospital that actually discharged her without anyone asking them to do so, but on the basis that they had finished treating her.
“They said they were done with their treatments, and therefore, discharged her to us. But my daughter was still crying and complaining of her hands and other pains around her body,” she said (in Igbo language).
“This got us so worried, and people suggested that we should take her to bigger hospital for an ultra scan, since that hospital does not have the facilities for that. That was why and how we got here to this current hospital in Asaba,” she added.
Asked whether they told the Commissioner, the NGO, the Nnewi indigenes who have show interest in the child’s wellbeing, and other relevant actors in the matter before transferring the child from the initial hospital to another hospital; Idimmachukwu’s mother confessed that she did not notify any of them before making the move.
While apologizing for not informing them, she said the action was taken as a matter of urgency and necessity, given the painful cry by her daughter who, she said, kept crying and complaining of her hands and pains before she was taken to the current hospital.
Asked if her daughter was lacking anything while she was in the previous hospital, the mother of the nine-year old said she did not lack anything, adding that “there was no lack of money; and so, lack of money was not the reason we transferred her to another hospital.”
“We did so, not because of lack of money or care, but because of my daughter’s continued complain and cries, even before and after she was discharged from the previous hospital, and because of the need for better medical attention,” Mrs. Chukwujekwu added.
She also testified that Idimmachukwu’s hitherto closed eyes were now open, while her health condition has continued to record more improvement since she was taken to the Asaba hospital.