Saturday, November 24, 2012

Mystery Surrounds Death of Infant in Lagos Crèche

Front view of the school. Inset: The late Osezua
The death of a nine-month-old boy pits the parents against the management of a crèche in Lagos, write Adeola Balogun.

When both Mr. Anthony and Dr. Jennifer Abuneme gave birth to their first child on Feb. 11, 2012, their joy knew no bounds. In their excitement, the couple decided to christen the new born baby, Osezua Emmanuel.

Among the Ishan of Edo State, the name Osezua means ‘good things come from God’. It was understandable. The Abunemes got married on May 14, 2011 and the same month, the wife got pregnant and later gave birth to a bouncing baby boy.


To the admiration of his parents, Osezua grew up very fast and was soon known as a vivacious boy. By September, he was registered at the crèche section of the Masters Ville Children School, Ajao Estate. He was doing well until tragedy struck two months later.

On Nov. 12, Osezua’s parents dropped him off at school at about 7 am and went to their different places of work. Unfortunately, it was the last time they would see him alive.

About three hours after the Abunemes had left, they were informed that their son, whom they had left in the care of a nanny, had been rushed to the Faith City Hospital, breathless.


In disbelief, the couple rushed to the hospital only to be shown the lifeless body of their son at the emergency ward, which is situated opposite the school.
Whatever transpired behind the walls of Osezua’s school within the three-hour interval between the period he took ill and arrived at the hospital dead, in spite of its proximity to the school, is shrouded in mystery.

Abuneme told a source that when he arrived at the hospital, he instinctively took the lifeless body of his son and tried to give him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation but it was in vain.

Although they are grieved at losing their first and only child, who was hale and hearty a few hours after they dropped him at school, Osezua’s parents appear to have accepted their fate with stoic calmness.

As soon as it occurred to him that his son was dead, Mr. Abuneme contacted a church priest who came to bless the corpse and prepared it for immediate burial.

He said he had to bury the child and go back home to grieve, knowing that there was no point dissipating energy on legal action of any kind.
He said, “I requested an explanation of what really happened. What they told me was that my son choked when they were feeding him. We handed him over to one of the nannies, one Ijere at about 7 am on that day and drove off to work.

“But I learnt that when the other nanny, Mrs. Dauda came, she asked Ijere why she had Osezua strapped on her back. The other woman said she had to carry him on her back because nobody was around when we brought him  to the school and she wanted to do something.

“Dauda said she took my boy from her colleague and in her words, both she and Osezua slept off. When they woke up, Osezua started crying and she wanted to give him food. That morning, my wife had prepared a meal of beans and put it in his pack. The nanny said she fed him about four spoons of the meal and she was about to give him the fifth, when the boy choked. Then she raised the alarm.

“I was told that Mrs. Ijere (who was actually an auxiliary nurse) said she held the boy upside down in an attempt to resuscitate him, albeit in a crude way, instead of dashing across the road to the hospital, which was just within easy reach.”

Masters Ville Children School is very close to Faith City Hospital. Both institutions are numbered 11 and 16, respectively, on Asa-Afariogun Street in upscale Ajao Estate, in the Okota area of Lagos.

But on the second day, the boy’s mother discovered blood stains on his dress. The clothe had smelt of mentholatum ointment when it was returned.
The discovery had ticked off an alarm and the Abunemes decided to unravel the mysterious circumstances surrounding their son’s sudden death.

“I made up my mind to get to the root of what happened to my boy. It was not that it would bring him back to life because I knew that he was gone forever. But I was worried about other children. The incident happened on Monday and I contacted the police on Friday. This tells you that my mission is to sensitise other parents and warn them about what may happen to their children at any time,” he said.

Abuneme complained that the attitude of the authorities of the Masters Ville School toward the tragic incident did not help matters. He said there was no representation from the school after he buried his child.
He said, “In fact, when people started coming to commiserate with us at home, some of my friends and family became curious when they did not see anybody from the school. Some of them even threatened to storm the school and create a scene, but I pleaded with them not to do that.

“They insisted on going there, at least to let the school authorities realise that even if it was a chicken that died in their poultry, there should be a measure of compassion, let alone a child. They went and when they came back, they told me that the school management said they would have come, but they feared that they might be lynched.

“It was after this that representation from the school came. When I reported the case at the police station in the estate, it took the school some time before they could produce the pair of Ijere and Dauda who repeated the same story that I just narrated to you.

“I believe the school is hiding something from us. For instance, the bottled water in my son’s pack was still intact. Yet, he was fed.  How can somebody feed a boy of nine months without giving him water to drink? Curiously, the hot water, which my wife put in his flask, was half-full when the pack was brought home.

“What did they do with the hot water? We fed the boy with cereal before taking him to school that morning? Nobody told us anything about blood, so how come there were blood stains on his dress? What about the mentholatum?

“When I asked why they didn’t take him to the hospital opposite the school almost immediately, I was told that they were trying to put him in a bus and were trying to open the gate. Someone could have held him and dashed across the road to the hospital in less than one minute.

“When I went back to the hospital, the doctor told me that he did not have any chance to help the boy because he was brought in dead. It was the same doctor that took his delivery. So he is more or less like a member of our family. I can imagine how he felt about the situation.”

The death certificate issued to Osezua’s parents, which was made available to our correspondent, showed that the boy was dead on arrival in the hospital. The document was signed by one Dr. Okpaleke Kingsley of Faith City Hospital.

The family wrote a petition to the Commissioner of Police in Lagos State through the Ajao Police Station, urging the law enforcement agency to find out why their son was left to die instead of being rushed to the nearby hospital. A few arrests were made, but the school authorities have been making different representations to plead with the Abunemes.

When the source visited the Master Ville Children School on Tuesday to find out what happened, the receptionist, who turned hostile as soon as she learnt of the mission of our correspondent,  blocked all attempts to speak with the head teacher. She claimed that no incident occurred in the school on Nov. 12.

Source

41 comments:

  1. #HEAVYsigh
    It pains me becos this is naija
    and we all know this story will
    eventually be swept under the rug
    just like every other case. But if
    this happened in yankee or jand
    be rest assured this creche will
    not see the light of day again!
    The school will be shut down
    and their license revoked immediately

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  2. Dr. Okechukwu (MB.BS)24 November, 2012 14:12

    While I commiserate with the parents over the death of their child, I must lay squarely the blame for their sons' death at their doorstep. First of all, your son dies suddenly and you bury him without doing an autopsy. Secondly a nine month baby shouldn't be eating beans as his digestive tracts are not properly developed for such. only God knows what else they have been feeding the boy, fufu, garri at al. Finally his grouse with the school is that they did not come to pay him condolence visit? There is what is called SIDS (Sudden infant death syndrome) A carefully performed autopsy could have determined cause of death and culpability. All this metholatum talk and hot water nonsense is nothing but conjectures that will help no one but the police(bribe).

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    1. Err a child can eat beans 4rm 6mnths of age;its prepared differently 4rm an adult's but yes dey can eat beans!

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    2. You took every words right out of my mouth!

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  3. Tragic and a parent's nightmare. RIP.

    Wasn't he too young to be in a crèche? It looks like a double edged sword whereby you don't want to leave your baby at home with a nanny and then you now take the baby to a crèche.

    How are crèches set up and who regulates them?

    Ladun, please keep us up to date with the outcome.

    I cover my children with the blood of Jesus more than anything/anyone.

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  4. Ladun's biggest fan24 November, 2012 14:28

    The baby may have had an underlying condition that the parents didn't know. There are more questions that need to be asked here. Beans at 9 months old? It's as bad as feeding an infant with groundnuts/peanuts. Haba! Heaven has gained an angel. Rest in peace Osezua.

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    1. Yes a child can eat beans at 9mnths of age.its boiled very soft so its easier to digest

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  5. T.I MD.
    I also strongly suspect SIDS. But if the child was awake, then maybe he chocked.
    I heartfelt condolences to the parents, May God console you.
    I understand the fear of the school, but the CEO should have gone to the funeral, and to condole the parents,....but then again fear of jungle justice is very valid in Nigeria.
    Dr. Okechukwu, you could try to be a little sympathetic, it sounds to me like you don't have kids!
    All in all, I doubt that the school or nannies at the day care deliberately took the life of the baby boy, and at this point, the parents are lashing out due to the hurt they are feeling.
    I pray God will take over the situation.

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  6. So sad. Its very painful. I'm surprised that the Mother, a medical Doctor didn't insist on an autopsy though. Moreover I thought Autopsy was now routine in Lagos hospitals.

    May God comfort the parents. I fail to see the relevance of the bottled water and hot water. Seems like the boy choked on the beans and the Nanny worsened it by holding him upside down. All handlers of children must know simple first Aid treatments. Perhaps, this could have saved the boy's life

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    1. because 'DR'was written in front of d mother's name doesnt imply she's a medical doctor 4 God's sake.dnt b so naive.

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  7. Oh! Touching. Just trying imagine the trauma the woman is going through.I pray the Holy Spirit comforts her

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  8. Am so short 4 words....dis is tragic...dt school has a lot of explanations 2 do oh...OMG such an innocent child

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  9. This is a sad situation. Don't attack dr okechukwu like that dis is not a matter of having kids or not. This blog is for public I mean mature people to read and add comment not to be attacking each other. God will give the parents the grace to bear their loss.

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  10. they should start by arresting those bastard nanny how can a bby choke to death ...from eating nd die I beg Der is mre to ds..

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    1. It could even happen to an adult. Choking is terrible

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  11. Rip baby but they should blame the school abeg cause anything can happen . Its a shame it happened in school , make them do autopsy.

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  12. This mothers of today, why in the name of God would you give a 9months baby beans? Haaa. His digestive tract is not ready for that now. Gosh. Poor baby! I pray God blesses the family with another baby. Baby Osaz, rest in peace

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  13. This is so sad! The Dr is very right an autopsy shld hve bn carried out befor the burial nd moreso the corpse shoul not hve bn buried without reporting to the police 1st! As was reading I was wondering hw a nine months old could swallow nd digest beans! I hve a 2yr old nd he is still tryin to get use to eating nd swallowing.
    Its sad that there r no Laws in place no checks nothing, I live in the uk nd my 2yr old has bn in a creche. For over a year now nd I cannot even imagin ds happenin . All those nannies in nig do nothve any formal education or training of any sort if you find out, just immagin turning a choking baby upside down? Aside from that nigeria is a lawless country where no one is held responsible , the hospital shld hve informed the police befor releasing the corpse to the father. May the Lord heal the family.

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  14. @Dr Okechukwu. Either you are a fake doctor or a half-baked one. And u r so mean too. It is perfectly fine to feed a 9 month old baby beans as long as it is mashed and not a choking hazard. And how can u even bring up SIDS when there is talk about blood and choking . Jeez. What medical school did u go to? And to go as far as blaming the parents who are grieving is just plain mean. Nigeria is in trouble with all these dangerous doctors who have no idea of what they are talking about. ........Concerned Pediatrician

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  15. They should have done autopsy, was surprised when I read that they went to bury the baby just like that. So sad, RIP osezua

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  16. What the hell is this Dr okechukwu talking about. I don't blame you,half baked doctor. It is perfectly normal to feed a 9month old baby with beans and the beans should be mashed very well. The mother, dr jennifer is obviously a medical doctor so you think she doesn't know what she is doing. Secondly,they buried the child fast because they couldn't cope with the pain of staring at the child obviously blaming themselves for the demise of the child but later when they suspected foul play with the blood and mentholaum on the childs cloth,they have no other choice than to investigate. Even though,the baby is dead but this shouldn't be swept under the carpet because it can serve as a warning to other parents bringing their baby to the creche. There are so many creches springing up in Nigeria,what are their qualifications or are they in it to make money?. Dr okechukwu is obviously working as a PR for that creche and its not a medical practioner. My questions are,why will you feed a baby and exclude water which aids in digestion and then talk about choking on beans? What is the relationship between choking,blood and mentholaum. Conclusion: it could be that the baby choked on something else when the nanny was sleeping,babies are fond of puting everything they like in their mouth..it could be anything but definitely not Beans and in their illiterate attempt to bring it out,blood came out. Sorry for my long essay..../bella/

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  17. Dr. Okechukwu (MB.BS)25 November, 2012 12:05

    For all those attacking my medical degree, I am glad that you pointed out the exceptions to feeding a baby beans. I see that people are prone to conjectures and that is why they would offer up reasons for the "quick" burial. I am not doing PR for any Creche and I got my Medical degree from Duke University. That said, If indeed the mother is a medical practitioner as is claimed, I am beyond shocked that she did not request a routine autopsy. I blamed the parents because the safety of a child primarily lies with them and if they abdicate that responsibility and want to blame another, it doesnt fly. All this talk of blood, water and Mentholatum would have been addressed with a simple autopsy. For those who do not know what SIDS is, Sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS) is the unexpected, sudden death of a child under age 1 in which an autopsy does not show an explainable cause of death. Symptoms: Almost all SIDS deaths occur without any warning or symptoms. Lets try to make educated commentary instead of hurling abuses. Some other mother may learn from it. Thanks

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  18. I am a parent at this school, I have two kids in there. The story told above is half true, the owner of the school was ill at the time of d occurence of this event, she suffered HBP and was also admitted in the hospital. Her husband was called to d scene and he immediately left work only to find d body of the child. He wept so hard and he could not call his wife due to her condition. He offered to report the incidence to the police, but d parents told him not to worry, he even asked to be at d burial, but they refused, they said they wanted to bury him quietly. All the teachers gathered in black to visit the parents, but they were chased away. Next thing we know, the sick proprietress got arrested in her state. Fellow parents gathered to go and visit the d parent, but were not allowed in initially, the environment was so hostile that we advised the proprietress not to go there at the moment until they calmed down. Word came in later that the child had pneumonia prior to that event. I just wished the school insisted on an autopsy. But its tough to watch parents with a dead child mourning, while d school insists on an autopsy. There was palm oil stain on d child and not blood.

    I can clearly tell u that there is absolutely nothing wrong with that school and my kids will continue to attend, it is a wonderful school and words cannot express how sad I feel for the parents and for the school. I can only pray for restoration of peace in the mother's heart.

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  19. FYI, a choking baby is meant to be turned upside down with pats on d back, that is d only way to save a choking baby. It would help for all mothers and nannies to take cpr classes.

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  20. Dr okechukwu aka “Madam my two children attends the school”....Poor attempt at damage control. You guys suck at PR or turning public opinion whatever you think you are trying to do #Dumb head of duke university#. It is perfectly normal to feed a 9month old baby with Mashed beans...it is cooked differently than the one adult take. B

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  21. This can only happen in Nigeria! a an ivestigation would hve been done be4 burial and thats an autopsy!in most developed countries this type of case is out of the parents hands its now i the hands of the state, corona and the Hospital.Having said that, this is every parents nightmare! May the Lord console the family and may the lord suprise them b4 the end of this year!! this is a real bad news.

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  22. the problem with beans is that the gas is even too much for a baby. rest in peace. terrible story.

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  23. Sad ! sad! sad!

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  24. I am not against feeding a child beans and I am not dr okechuckwu, my friend just sent me this blogspot this evening coz she knows my kids attend this school. I just felt the need to address the situation from the school's stand point. Arguments will not bring this child back, pointing accusing fingers will not change the situation either. We can only pray that God should comfort the parents involved, this could have happened anywhere. Kids die in their very home, even in d hands of their mothers. If its Gods timing, nothing would change it. Whether d child ate eba, rice or beans is not the issue. The nurse involved is an experienced nurse and has raised lots of babies in that school, including the proprietress's babies. My kids started at creche and are in primaries now, nothing like this has ever happened. Sicker babies have bn brought to that school and d school has managed them well without anyone dying. We will continue to pray for these parents and pray that this doesn't happen to anyone of our kids, it is a horrible thing to loose a child and I pray none of us will experience this.

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  25. U see u nigerians,u suffer 4lack of knowledge or perhaps illiteracy.I don't see y most of u r attacking dr.oke....hs rite,infact it could b food poison!not all body system r d same.4a 9month child dats bad.May hs peaceful soul rest in peace.I beg 4d family of osezua 2pls die d case since theirs no enof evidence 2back d cases

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  26. The hater that is attacking people must be related to the parents. How are we sure they did not use the child for money making ritual? I cannot imagine my child dying and I wont raise hell and report the matter to police not to talk of requesting Autopsy. I wont put it past the parents. How are you sure they buried the child. Where is the grave? he can still be exhumed and autopsy performed. Their hands are not clean. #EAT_THAT

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  27. I suspect ritual killing. I suspect the parents. Is the priest they brought of what denomination? Maybe its the juju priest. Something is not right.

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  28. This is very sad and almost avoidable. The government should put modalities and policies in place just like we have in U. S for handlers of children to be trained properly most especially in basic first Aid and CPR. I also suspect SIDS (sudden Infant Death Syndrome ). But if the nannies were trained, it would have solved a whole lot of riddles. But the parents action was rather premature by burying the child without proper medical and police investigation. Autopsy would have answered a whole lot of questions for them. I believe sympathisers are now giving them different kinds of advice and suggestions and that's the reason they are now coming up with different kinds of analogies. (No pun or offence intended). A little patience would have paid off very well. I sympathise with the parents of the dead baby. The Lord will comfort them and bring joy back into their lives.
    And to all immature and rash contributors on Nigerian blogs who wait like wounded lions to attack any and every contributor who does not agree with their crazy and archaic thought patterns, please sheat your swords and wise up. Learn to accommodate other people's opinions even if they are contrary to yours. That's the spirit of sportsmanship and that s the only way to true happiness and contentment. So many folks are too full of hate and bitter gile. It's absolutely unnecessary and a great turn-off.

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  29. Hw can u feed a 9 month old child beans??????

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  30. Unbelievable the things coming from the mouth of people. They used their child for money ritual ...are you for real. Ssssmh. This is the attitude that we tolerate in this society that has kept us backward for a while. You want to shift the blame to the parents. I remember the case of the Nigerian nanny abroad that they sentenced to 80 yrs life sentence because over there they are serious with whatever they do. If this happens abroad,I bet the nannies relations and the PR pple of the school won't come here and be making empty noise, someone will be sitting in jail and the school would have taken responsibility of their action.

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  31. @Anon 18.43 Go and put the nanny in jail then. The parents buried the child without an autopsy and the mother is a DOCTOR. If it doesnt smell like money ritual to you, you must be dumb as you sound. You are Nigeria and that is America.

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  32. May the soul of the innocent boy rest in peace. The deed is done and it's very unfortunate. In the first place, I honestly think a child should be atleast one b4 going to any school at all(my opinion though) and parents should learn to treat new borns as valuables and give them special attention at that earliest stage of 0-1yr. And secondly, if it's the will of God that Osazie will end like this, no man wld have changed that. A lot of babies began eating any kind of food from 3 months and thousands of kids got choked on a daily basis but still alive, just like a lot starts day care as early as 3 months and lives. God will surely gives the parents the fortitude to bear the loss of this chap and for their loss, I pray for a replacement of two. It's well.

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  33. Dr okechukwu is right. AUTOPSY, would have saved them from all these assumptions. We nigerians don't like to be told the truth sometimes. Are the nannies also CPR satified. Infact CPR should be taught in schools in Nigeria. Performing CPR the right way can really save lives you know.

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  34. Parents of this little boy, the more you fight this the more u break your heart, let God fight your battle, he will bless you more and more. that was how a big hospital at maryland after the bridge towards ojota injected my son on an early morning when i brought him for treatment, i took him home and he died 2 hours later and they did not not accept responsibility rather the CMD who says she not a Nigerian used the opportunity to be rude to me,i buried him and went home to grief, yes i could not sue them cos there was no autopsy report. i left her case on the cross of Calvary and today God has blessed me double. Let it go, only God knows what happened, Let HIM Jehovah fight for you. the pain of the loss of a child cannot be compared with anything, but only God can heal with time. let HIM fight for you.

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  35. So because she didn't demand for autopsy that automatically means it is money ritual. When will Nigerians stop this manner of thinking? You must really be twisted to think this way....WTF. The Nigerian police should look into this and properly investigate it...autopsy or no autopsy ,there is still a case. Let's stop this attitude of folding our hands and leaving everything to God when he actually gave us wisdom to act. The parents should get closure for this and if investigating this will give them that,then so be it.

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