Mrs. Ashetu Igbawase, the 42-year-old widow who was impregnated by her son-in-law, Mr. Jonathan Ulaha, during her three-month’s sojourn in the latter’s village, Awe, in Nasarawa state, to harvest yam and guinea corn produce, said to be in danger of being destroyed by Fulani herders, has finally aborted the pregnancy, Saturday Sun can authoritatively reveal.
This is just as she said she would, in the first part of the story published on Saturday, January 6, 2018 – to avoid turning the mistake into a monument of shame.
“I told my daughter the truth so that we can get a solution to it and out of anger she went public with it. I have since regretted my action,” she had confided in our correspondent then. “My intention was to find a way and abort it. My daughter agreed to look for somebody to abort it for me because I can’t keep it. The whole thing was temptation and I completely regret it.”
“She said she wants it aborted because it would be a shameful thing for her to be pregnant at her age when her husband is not alive,” her daughter, Victoria, had confirmed. John, her husband, who is at the centre of the storm had also added then that the pregnancy won’t stand. “I will do my best to plead with my wife to accept aborting it,” he promised Saturday Sun.
When, how and why the abortion was procured
Well, the deed has been done. The pregnancy has been aborted in accordance with the wishes of the various parties affected, although no one can predict how soon the shame brought about by the inglorious act will dissipate or recede into memories. For instance, although Mrs. Igbawase had since relocated to Daudu, a major town in Guma Local Government Area of Benue state, she confessed that she had continued to regret and to bemoan the abominable incident that brought her so much shame. The woman who revealed that her daughter procured the abortion for her, at the cost of N20, 000, at a pharmaceutical shop located in Lafia, Nasarawa state, said she couldn’t have kept the pregnancy for any reason.
“I couldn’t have kept it because what happened was a great mistake and an abomination of the highest order,” she said when Saturday Sun caught up with her in Guma. “If I deliver it, how do you think people will look at me?”
As to how she got her daughter, who was really embarrassed and embittered about the situation when Saturday Sun met her about three weeks ago, to help out, she said: “I knelt down and begged her to please forgive me for whatever wrong I must have committed. I was crying and you know what that means. Eventually, she saw reasons with me and we aborted it. But my worry then was that she was angry and went public with the whole matter.
“Though she was very angry, she later directed her husband who impregnated me to take me to one pharmacy in Kadarko and the man removed it at the cost of N20, 000. This was on the 6th of January 2018 (the same day that Saturday Sun went to town with the story). The pregnancy was three months and about two weeks old. You need to think more of what would have happened to me if I had gone ahead to keep the pregnancy, for who?”
She sighed as she added: “My decision to eliminate the pregnancy was the only option. With time I believe that I will get over it and move on with my life. I can’t imagine giving birth when my husband is not alive and, more so, to my own son-in-law. Sometimes, when I think over what happened, it appears to me as if I’m dreaming but I thank God that after a stormy time with my daughter a permanent solution was reached. I didn’t go back to my husband’s village to stay because of the herdsmen crisis. I decided to come down here for my safety and I have totally submitted my life to God praying every now and then for Him to forgive me.”
Daughter’s forgiveness and mother’s precautionary lifestyle
The ice build-up that the ugly incident caused between her and her daughter appears to be thawing. “I have been talking to my daughter and she is taking care of me,” she said. “She calls regularly to find out how I’m doing until recently when I lost my handset and she promised to get another one for me. As for her husband, we have not been talking often since I left their place. So far, we’ve spoken only on two occasions. I blamed him seriously the day we were going to Kadarko (to procure the abortion) for influencing me into this and he was just quiet. He only wanted to know why I succumbed to sex easily but we couldn’t argue further because the harm was done already.”
The shameful incident has taught her an unforgettable bitter lesson, she confessed, on the need to be more careful. “Before this thing happened I used to maintain about two strong relationships after the death of my husband and these men help me a lot in doing my farm work and with the other assistance. Both of them were not too young; one was from my husband’s village and the other lives in Gbajumba in Guma LGA. He would visit me occasionally and anytime he was around, I would tell the other man in the village to excuse me. That is how I have been living my life. But you see if the devil wants to cause trouble in your life if your faith is not strong, he comes in easily and that was what happened to me in this case.”
Praying for divine pardon
She said that after a thorough search of her soul, she concluded that what she did was the worst sin on earth, and decided to continually ask God for forgiveness. “Romans 10:9-10 says, that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God has raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved, for with the heart man believeth unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation,” she said. “I soon found out how wrong I was. Yes, the road to salvation begins with the desire to repent, forsake the life of sin, and take Christ as your personal Saviour. I am learning every day that it requires work, consciously deciding to forsake the world for God and in order to live this new lifestyle, we need to go to the source, the word of God.”
The discussion swung back to the aborted pregnancy and she said: “The pregnancy is no more. I have learnt my lesson and forgiven my son-in-law. My daughter has also forgiven me. And, I truly appreciate her and thank God for everything. She was the one who advised me to come close to God and plead with Him to forgive me. She said I committed the highest sin in the world and that I need to be begging God every second to forgive me.”
The gospel according to Jonathan and Victoria
Contacted, Mr. Jonathan Ulaha, the son-in-law said he doesn’t want to talk about the issue again. “That matter has passed,” he insisted. “I begged my wife to forgive me. I regretted so much my actions and anytime the issue comes up, I feel like committing suicide. Even my wife does not raise the issue with me again. As I talk with you I am serving a silent punishment under her, though I don’t have any problem anymore with her. I deeply understand that I offended her beyond redemption and I have vowed not to offend her for the remaining time we have on earth. So we are living happily as husband and wife, thank you.”
His wife, Victoria, agrees. “The matter has been resolved, the pregnancy is no more,” she said. “I have forgiven them and allowed God to decide their fate on the last day. I have said it, time and again, that I cannot leave my marriage because of what happened. As far as I am concerned, it is over and the whole thing is between them and their God. I have also asked God for forgiveness for approving the abortion of the pregnancy because I can’t understand my own biological mother giving birth to a child for my own legitimate husband. It would have been very strange. The whole matter is over and my husband has begged me enough and I have put that behind me, though he is undergoing punishment. I will not tell you the kind of punishment he is undergoing. All that I can say is that I love my husband and we are together.”
Police, lawyer, psychologist react
Weighing in on the development, right activist, Chief Mike Ozekhome, SAN, has said, forcible procurement of abortion, if the person is caught, is a criminal offence.
According to him, “The issue is both ethical and legal. Ethical in the sense that it amounts to an odious traditional and cultural taboo for a woman to have a child for the son-in-law, because it could mean that child will be her child, will be the brother to her daughter, while the son-in-law will be the father to her child, and also husband to her daughter.
Ethically therefore, it is wrong, and to have such a child is an odious happening even though things have gone haywire in the world.
The question also is whether the woman is also not entitled to know whether to keep the child or not. If the child is fully developed, it will become infanticide to kill such a child. Either way, it is a very poor case that the woman should never have allowed to happen at all no matter her hot pants.
“I’m a Christian, I do not believe in abortion, but I do believe that any abortion that threatens the life of the mother should be allowed to be procured so as to save the life of the mother because the Bible says, “Thou shall not kill”
But if the mother will loose her life for an unborn embryo, it will be better for the embryo to go so that the mother can live as she can have embryos in future.
This is a warning to our women folk; no matter how hot their pants are, to stop the shame of sleeping with their sons-in law, drivers, stewards, aides, gardeners, etc, all because they want to satisfy their high libido. It is a shame.”
In her reaction, Patricia Chiegboka, Clinical Psychologist, she said what Igbawase did was an abomination.
In her words, “First, what she did was an abomination. How can a mother seek sexual solace in her son-in-law? In such a case, the psychological effects on the woman are high. It can result in mental breakdown because she got pregnant from having an illicit relationship with her son-in-law. One of the psychological effects of her recent action is shame. She will experience shame because the act that was done in secret has become public knowledge. They were never prepared for the public to know the secret thing they were doing.
“Another psychological effect of this woman’s action is guilt. She will feel guilty for killing an innocent child even though she committed an abortion just to save herself and the unborn child from shame. The woman’s continued relationship with the public will be marred. People would not want to associate with her and her son-in-law anymore because of their action. She can also start battling depression and if she’s not properly taken care of, she may become suicidal.”
As at press time, the Force Police Public Relations Officer, CSP Jimoh Moshood was yet to answer his call or respond to text messages sent to him on the matter.
However, the Lagos State Police spokesman, SP Chike Oti warned that such act is criminal and both the woman and those who assisted her are liable.
According to him, “the abortion laws of the Criminal Code state that any person providing a miscarriage to a woman is guilty of a felony and may get up to 14 years of imprisonment. The woman obtaining a miscarriage is guilty of a felony and up to imprisonment for seven years. Also anyone supplying anything intended for a woman’s miscarriage is also guilty of a felony and up to three years of imprisonment. If it is confirmed that she terminated the unborn child, such a woman should be arrested.”
Culled from SUN