The sad story of 5-year-old Adamawa girl raped after being displaced by flooding
By Fatima Saka
It was late in the evening of Friday, August 23, 2019. The cloud was dense, bringing forth continuous rainfall that lasted for many hours, in Adamawa, Yola State.
When the rain subsided, a 5-year-old child, Fatima, was found lying lifeless in the flood.
The heavy downpour, which submerged six wards in Yola North Local Government had displaced many people including Fatima.
She was found by her uncle, Muhammed, in a barbershop at about 5:00 p.m. in the evening. Mohammed noticed that Fatima had been defiled. He quickly carried her to the house to clean her up.
After about an hour, Fatima was still heavily bleeding and unconscious, she was rushed to Adamawa Hope Centre and Specialist Hospital, Yola, a referral centre for rape victims.
Narrating the unfortunate situation of Fatima, Dr. Endurance Oku, a doctor at the specialist Hospital Yola, said that all efforts to stop Fatima from bleeding in her perineum were futile. The damage in her genitals was beyond what they could handle at the center.
So, she was referred to the Federal Medical Centre Yola (FMC). There, with the help of trained medical specialists and consultants, she was revived back to life after a day she was brought to the hospital.
Fatima was subjected to unbearable pain. The surgeons would have to wait for one wound to heal before they carried out the next surgeries on her perineum.
Perhaps, Fatima wouldn’t have to take shelter in the barbershop if it was not for the heavy downpour. Perhaps, she would have made it home if the storm wasn’t fierce.
Most harsh weather conditions in recent years have been attributed to changes in the climate.
In some rare cases, such as Fatima’s, climate change has exposed the girl child to numerous dangers such as rape, insecurity, and hunger.
Before the incident, Fatima used to live in Makera with her elder sister and lived with their grandma. She had no idea the unfortunate incident that made her go through four surgeries would happen.
She spent almost a year at the hospital receiving intensive care, spent another additional two years in an orphanage home for psychologists, psychotherapy and social workers to care for her.
Investigation was carried out by Adamawa State Police Command, and some group of activists, revealed the identity of the perpetrator to be Abbati Musa, a 19-year-old alleged cultist.
The Public Relations Officer (PRO) of the state police command, Sulaiman Yahaya Nguroje, said Abati was sent to a rehabilitation center where he died some years later.
Fatima is now 10 year-old, and back to Lagos with her family. She is back to school and currently in primary four.
“What happened to Fatima, I pray for it not to happen to any child,” Fatima’s mother, Bilikisu Ayuba said. “As a mother, I felt bad for taking Fatima and her sister to Yola to stay with their grandma,
“I regretted taking my daughter away from my side and I find it hard to forgive myself. After five years, I am still traumatized by my daughter’s assault,” she said crying.
Her father, Ayuba Dan Sokoto, expressed his gratitude for the rescue of his daughter and said: “I thank everyone who assisted and supported Fatima during her trial.”
He is also expressed concern for her daughter’s future. “I hope this will not affect her in the future.”
Adamawa Hope Centre Intervention for Fatima
Fatima was assisted in health care and rehabilitation by the Adamawa Hope Centre, a Sexual Assault Referral Centre (SARC) unit.
Deputy Manager of Adamawa Hope Center, Phoebe Barde, who is also a nurse at the center, said Fatima’s cased was the worst of cases the centre had ever treated.
“After she was brought to the center, we observed her and we saw that it was beyond what we could handle, the center thereby referred her to Obstetrics and gynecology, at the specialist hospital within the same premises, they still couldn’t handle her case, so she was referred to Federal Medical Centre Yola, there has four major surgeries, the Deputy Manager narrated. ” After Fatima’s surgeries, the drugs she was administered to were also supplied by the center.”
Devastating Implications of Traumatic and Psychological Effects of Rape on Children
Ordinarily, repercussions of a child molestation goes through traumatic experience and it’s natural that such a child could develop a phobia, a Senior lecturer at Bamidele Olumilua University of Education, Science and Technology, Ikere-Ekiti, Department of Peace and Security, Dr. Yemi Illori revealed.
The doctor advised that such a child could be assisted with professional psycho-therapy as a form of therapeutic measures.
“If the child is adolescent and not less than 12 years of age, is already conscious of the environment and personality, the parents of such a child will have to ensure her stability, taking proactive measures, because it is not an easy thing to remove such a devastating experience from the sub-consciousness of a child,” Dr. Illori caution.
Adamawa Network Against Raped Intervention for Fatima
Fatima’s case is one of such deleterious cases of raped that led to a form of coalition against rape network.
A member of the Adamawa Coalition Against Rape Network, and also, Head of Information, Public Relations, Modibbo Adamawa University Teaching Hospital, narrated: “When we heard of Fatima case, we quickly formed a coalition, called Adamawa Coalition Against Rape, and then moved to the streets, making sure that people are adequately informed about it and encouraging them to shun this kind of predatory practices.”
“The coalition network also urged the government to find possible solutions to flooding in the state, because Adamawa state is constantly experiencing flooding and a lot of things are happening to children during such devastating periods, especially the girl child,” Dodo expressed.
This reporting was completed with the support of the Centre for Journalism Innovation and Development (CJID).