Nkechi told Punch Metro that she lost the pregnancy during many hours of gruelling experience in KAI’s detention camp.
She said her ordeal began when she was being rushed to a hospital in Gbagada, Lagos, during the last compulsory environmental sanitation. Omakagu said herself and a neighbour driver were accosted by KAI men, who insisted that they would detain them and be made to pay fines before they would be released.
She said, “Early in the morning of January 26, 2012, I was feeling pains in my stomach but because it was midnight and the pain was not constant, I tried to endure it. When it was 7am, my husband suggested that we go to a hospital because it had become intense. He begged our neighbour, Emeka Ozor, to take me to a hospital in Gbagada.
“When we got to Obanikoro, a team of KAI officials accosted us and told us that we had no excuse for being out on sanitation day before 10am. One of the KAI men forced Ozor out of the driver’s seat and drove us to their office.”
She said on getting to the office, the vehicle was handed over to a woman in mufti whom the KAI men referred to as Alhaja.
Nkechi said she pleaded with Alhaja to allow her go for treatment but the woman did not agree, saying that there was no excuse for contravening the state’s laws.
“While in serious pain, I pleaded with Alhaja to let me go for treatment considering my condition but she refused. I even tried to appeal to her feminine side since she ought to know what pregnancy pains feels like but all my entreaties fell on deaf ears”, she said.
Nkechi said while she was pleading, another KAI official, identified only as Emperor, told Alhaja that the amount of money that would be paid as bail was N10,000.
She added that Alhaja said mockingly that if she wanted, she could give birth to a baby in the compound.
Nkechi said when she could not produce the money, the KAI men took her and Ozor, along with the vehicle to the premises of the Magistrate’s Court in Ikoyi, where the KAI men demanded N50,000.
She said at that point, the pain had become constant and more intense, adding that she began to have premature contractions.
She said she was released eight hours after her arrest after parting with N5,000.
“I was released at 3pm, about eight hours after I was arrested. The KAI men still held on to the vehicle, so my husband had to get a taxi which took us down to the hospital. The KAI men collected N5,000 and did not issue us a receipt,” she said.
She said on getting to the hospital, the doctor confirmed that her pregnancy had been threatened as a result of ‘serious stress and strain’ which she had gone through.
The doctor prescribed some drugs for her and confined her to bed rest.
“On January 27 (the next day), I was diagnosed with premature contractions and was later informed that the foetus was dead,” she said.
Nkechi’s husband, Odinaka, lamented that the experience was a very bad one for his wife, given the fact that the foetus would have been their first child.
“This is very sad. The fact that it could have been prevented is what makes it even more pathetic. I don’t know why the KAI men were so callous to prevent her from going to the hospital where she had been going for her ante-natal care,” he said.
A copy of the medical report made available to Punch Metro said in part that the foetus died of ‘Cardio-pulmonary failure and prematurity’.
Meanwhile, the vehicle, a Mitsubishi Bus with number plate, BT292EPE, is still in custody of KAI.
When contacted on the telephone, the Senior Special Assistant on Environmental Matters to the Governor and KAI Marshal-General, Danjuma Maigeri, directed our correspondent to the Commissioner for Environment for comments.
However, when contacted on the telephone, the spokesman for the Ministry of Environment, Mr. Fola Adeyemi, directed our correspondent back to KAI for comment.