We live in Baboon Village in the Ajele area of Ajah here in Lagos. There are not many modern houses where I live, most of the houses are uncompleted story buildings the owners converted to living quarters in the hope they would complete the building in years to come. It is almost a village, in fact.
It is a quiet area but there’s always a baby or babies crying in that house next to ours; anytime I want to study for my waec exams, I’m always distracted by crying babies. Our neighbour, Sisi Rosie, is a widow; she is not a Nigerian; she is from Benin Republic and though she married a Nigerian, she insists on being called Sisi Rosie, instead of ‘Mama Tessy’, after the name of her daughter.
Sisi Rosie’s compound is always filled with pregnant women, young girls mostly. The woman claims to be a traditional midwife; midwife my foot! Sisi Rosie; she doesn’t have empathy for the pregnant women for one and handles the new born like one handling chicken in the market; turning them upside down in the name of weighing them. How can someone so cold be a midwife?
There are girls as young as 15 and 16 in the compound, all of them pregnant! I do not have to be a nosy neighbour to know that Sisi Rosie is running a baby factory here. But I had to be sure before going to report her to the police as the adults around me do not seem to think it is their business to do so.
Where are the buyers for example? There have been no strange cars or strange people apart from the pregnant girls and a few labourers.
One day, I snuck into her compound, which was easy because the fence dividing us was built by my father before he died; it is hardly a fence, just rows of blocks up to my shoulder level. I saw her delivering a baby. It was a frightening sight. There was so much screaming, from the girl having a baby, she looked young, they had put a rag over her mouth but her screams could still be heard from far. There was so much blood, too.
I spoke to my legs before I was noticed by Sisi Rosie’s son in law, Uncle Joe, he is Tessy’s husband, he often acts as his mother-in-law’s driver. He takes her out with the babies and sometimes Tessy rides along carrying the babies.
That’s when I decided to report her. I went to the Lagos state ministry to report sisi Rosie and her cohorts. I wrote my statements, gave details that led me to suspect she was a criminal but I did not write my real name.
It took almost a week before the people from the ministry came with about 20 police men to our quiet village. They made so much noise it frightened everyone out of their houses.
They went for Sisi Rosie, they arrested Uncle Joe as well, Tessy was nowhere to be found. They took the rest of the pregnant girls and two malnourished babies whose mothers couldn’t be accounted for.
They whisked Sisi Rosie away at the back of a police pickup van as she was protesting; claiming to being a registered traditional midwife at Eti Osa.
I hope they keep her there. I hope the young girls coming will stop getting pregnant anyhow expecting Sisi Rosie to help them sell their babies.
Now I can focus on my studies, WAEC is at hand, no more crying babies.
Complied by Peju Akande