A baby girl, dressed and abandoned by her mother in a biscuit carton near Eco Bank, along Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo, died after hours of battling for survival.
The baby, who was said to have been abandoned by her mother at about 11:30pm on Friday, died around 11:58am on Saturday after many hours of crying for help.
A resident of the area, Mr. Okon Isaac, told a Punch correspondent that the baby became pale after a long period of crying for her mum’s comfort before passing out.
Isaac said he wanted to check if Total Filling Station along Ikot Ekpene Road, Uyo had begun to sell fuel when he heard a baby cry near the refuse bin, dressed neatly and dumped in the biscuit carton.
According to him, he was perplexed and had to suspend buying fuel and kept watch over the baby since 5:47am thinking that the mother might change her mind and come back for the baby.
He stated that the baby’s cry from the carton drew the attention of a large number of people.
Isaac added that people were scared to touch the baby to avoid being accused by the police of trying to steal or kidnap the baby.
“I have been here since 5:47am. I wanted to buy fuel from Total, which only sells the product when available between the hours of 4 and 6:20am. After this time, they stop selling pretending not to have the product.
“As I was passing, I heard the cry of the baby. I began to wonder where the baby was crying from. But when I got near the refuse bin, just off the road, I saw a baby girl neatly dressed and dumped in a biscuit carton.
“I could not go to Total in search of fuel again. I stayed behind to observe if the mother of the baby might change her mind and come back for the baby. And before long, people started to troop in as they heard the cry of the baby.
“But as we live in a period of child theft and selling of children for money, people were scared to touch the baby. They all stood helpless, should anyone risk lifting the baby, and the police happen to be around, the individual can be accused of child theft, or whatever,” he said.
The Punch correspondent called the police emergency number to inform them of the abandoned baby, but the police said they were aware of the situation and had contacted the Ministry of Environment for necessary action.
It was observed that till the baby died, neither the police nor officials of the Ministry of Environment were present at the scene.