BY TIMOTHY AGBOR, OSOGBO
A mother of three children in Ilobu, Irepodun Local Government Area of Osun State, Mrs. Yusuf, better known as Iya Mariam in the neighbourhood, has been sent packing from her matrimonial home allegedly by her husband, Mr. Yusuf, for giving birth to albino children….[Continue Reading]
The woman and her husband are black complexioned but they gave birth to two albinos out of the three children they have.
Mrs. Yusuf narrated that her marriage started experiencing challenges when she gave birth to her second child, Mariam, and she turned out to be an albino. She said her husband rejected paternity of the girl and refused to care for her as a father.
According to her, the development raised suspicion in the mind of her husband who accused her of infidelity.
She said the situation worsened about two years after she was delivered of another albino girl. According to her, her husband could no longer tolerate having albino children because there was no history of albinism in his lineage.
Narrating the inhumane treatments she received from her husband over the complexion of her children, Mrs. Yusuf, a labourer who also engages in other menial jobs, could not complete a sentence without tears dropping from her eyes.
She explained that her first child is not an albino, but could not question God for the two albinos given to her. Mrs. Yusuf denied cheating on her husband, saying she was a pious woman who would never engage in infidelity.
According to the mother of three, her husband was behaving well to her and her first child, until she gave birth to her second child, Mariam, who turn out to be an albino.
The woman also disclosed that her husband had not been happy with her inability to give him a male child, adding that the issue complicated his anger when the other two girls came to the world with albinism.
“I got married to my husband in a normal way. My first child is not an albino. It is my second child, Mariam who is an albino and it was when I gave birth to her that all the problems started. My husband believes I cheated on him, which was why I gave birth to an albino. He said no one in his family ever had an albino. He refused to take responsibility on the child and even told the child to her face that he was not her father.
“However, the situation became worse when I gave birth to our third child, Alimat, who is also an albino. That was when he kicked us out of the house in the middle of the night. An aged woman accommodated us in the middle of the night. We spent four days at her house. On the fourth day, my husband called the grandma’s son and threatened him, so, the grandma had no choice than to send us out of her house.
“Since then, it has been really hard for me and my children to survive because their father has completely neglected us,” Mrs Yusuf lamented.
Explaining further, she said, “I work as a labourer at construction sites with my daughters. Sometimes, I would collect payment in advance so that my children could eat. I even tried to withdraw my eldest child, who is now a Christian, from school because I couldn’t afford to sponsor her. A teacher in Osogbo later volunteered to sponsor her education. She just gained admission, but I haven’t been able to pay her school fees or provide her with accommodation,” Iya Mariam noted.
Mr. Yusuf didn’t spare his albino children in his rage. He kicked them out of his house; a situation that has exposed them to suffering, psychological trauma, stigmatisation and suicide contemplation.
For Mariam Yusuf, the 13- year-old albino daughter of the embattled mother, her biological father could be described as an epitome of hostility against albinos. Ever since she has been rejected by her father, Mariam said she had been traumatised and, at a point, thought of taking her life.
She was surprised that while the society accepts her nature and people were willing to provide support for her as an albino, her father had brought her sorrow, discrimination, stigmatisation and unpleasant experience in her life.
Mariam is not alone in the challenge, her nine-year-old sister, Alimat Yusuf, is also suffering the same fate. It is a case of total rejection from their father. They are battling discrimination, stereotype and psychological issues,which were caused by their father.
With a moody look and emotion-laden voice during an interview, Mariam said, “My father has been behaving badly to me. He does not even associate with me because I am an albino. My father has refused to take any responsibility on me and my sister, Alimat, because he believes we are not his children. He claims he is not the one who gave birth to us because there has never been any albino in his lineage.
“My father is ashamed of me and my sister. He doesn’t want people to see him with us. If any of his friends come to look for him, he won’t allow us to get close to him. It is that bad. It got to a point I wanted to commit suicide. The trauma was too much for me to bear.
“My sister and I have been surviving on our own. I hawk fufu for people, and sometimes they give me six or four wraps of fufu with N200. Sometimes, we would have fufu but there won’t be any soup to eat it with. There was a time we ate fufu with just groundnut oil. That’s how we have been surviving.
“Sometimes, I would go to the construction site uninvited just to work as a labourer for me to get money to eat. My face wasn’t like this before. The sunburns and other dark spots on my face showed up when I was hawking fufu and working at construction sites.”
Appealing to well meaning individuals to come to their aid, Mariam added, “My mum has always been struggling to cater for us. She works as a labourer too. There was a time she had an accident and it became a serious challenge for us. I am tired of this suffering.
I didn’t create myself.”
Similarly, nine-year-old Alimat is feeling the pain of being an albino. She affirmed that her father had never taken any responsibility on her because she is an albino.
According to the young girl, “It is only my mother that has been taking care of us; paying our school fees. My daddy has not been paying our school fees.”
Asked if she would go back to her father, Alimat said, “I can’t go back to our father because he has maltreated my mother.”
At her tender age, Alimat, a Primary 2 pupil, has been hawking fufu in Ilobu.
“My mother is the only person bearing all the responsibility. I hawk fufu to assist my mother. We are staying at our maternal grandfather’s house at Akinnu’s compound in Ilobu. I want people to help us,” she appealed.
Efforts to speak with Mr Yusuf were not successful….[Continue Reading]