Last Saturday, the Gombe State University (GSU), was thrown into pandemonium and mourning following an unfortunate incident involving a female student.
On the fateful day, about 8am, a 23-year-old female student, Rahab Musa Sambo, delivered a baby boy inside a toilet in one of the female hostels of the university.
The final year undergraduate of the Department of Public Administration allegedly threw the newborn through the window of the toilet of a newly built Hall IV, female hostel, few hours after she delivered it.
Daily Trust Saturday gathered that the student, who hails from Filiya town of Shongom Local Government Area of Gombe State, got the pregnancy outside wedlock and decided to kill the baby boy.
A staff of the institution said, “Immediately after she delivered the boy, she threw him out through the hostel window. The baby died instantly.
“It was on Saturday morning and as I was about to close for the day, having done a night duty on Friday. As I approached the female hostel, one of the security personnel called me inside where she showed me a corpse of a newborn baby.
“She told me that the boy was thrown through a toilet window from the hostel. I followed her inside the hostel, and with help from other cleaners, we were able to locate the room where the incident happened.
“By the time we entered the room, her other three roommates had already helped her to clean the toilet and she also had a bath. And, with the help of some experienced women, we were able to identify the culprit.
“However, taking her out of the hostel became a big problem because the story had gone round that a student killed her baby. Hundreds of students gathered outside the hostel trying to force themselves inside to take out the girl.
“We had to send for reinforcement and disguise her in a hijab of one of the female staff before we could save her from a mob that gathered around the hostel, threatening to beat her.
“She was first taken to the university’s clinic, where she was examined and later handed over to the security office, who subsequently took her to the Gombe Specialist Hospital.”
According to him, she had to be patched severely by the medical personnel at the hospital, “because she sustained several tears on her private part while delivering the baby inside the toilet.”
Some of Rahab’s course mates and other people who know her in the university expressed shock at the incident.
Saratu Joshua said Rahab was a serious student who hardly ‘socialised’ on campus as she was never seen attending any party or social activity that involved the opposite sex.
“She was brought up by a pastor and has been staying with his family since the death of her parents years ago. So we are yet to digest the story that Rahab could get pregnant outside wedlock and even killed the child,” she said.
Saratu added that Rahab became aware that she was pregnant much later, and from that time, she started wearing hijab despite being a Christian, “apparently to hide her growing stomach from public eye.”
She added, “Being a girl with good character, nobody suspected anything when she started wearing hijab frequently. She wore hijab, even inside the hostel.”
Saratu also said the girl slept in the university’s clinic a day before the incident.
“She complained of headache and reported to the university clinic, where she was treated for malaria and typhoid. She slept in the clinic and returned to the hostel the following morning. In fact, at the time she gave birth, there was still a cannula on her hand.
“She was to be taken to a hospital outside the school for a scan to be conducted on her, but she returned to the hostel and suddenly started labour inside her room’s toilet, which is located at the ground floor of Hall IV.
Daily Trust Saturday learnt that Rahab shared room with three other students. But they all claimed to be ignorant of their roommate’s pregnancy.
Incident may be connected to depression – Lecturer
A lecturer in the university who craved anonymity said although the action was condemnable, “it might be connected to postpartum depression,” a medical condition that many women get after having a baby, where they have a strong feeling of sadness, anxiety and tiredness.
“These feelings can make it hard for a mother to take care of herself or the baby,” he said.
The lecturer added that the university’s rule that bans female students from being pregnant outside wedlock also compounded the problem for the girl.
“Once a female student delivers a baby outside wedlock inside the university, she will be expelled. Therefore, since Rahab was able to hide her pregnancy from the public, she may have assumed that killing the baby would be the last option if she was to complete her studies,” he added.
University management to take disciplinary action
Speaking to Daily Trust Saturday, the university management said it would take disciplinary action once the ongoing investigation is concluded.
In a statement issued by its public relations officer, Mohammed Sammani Abubakar, the school management noted that the entire university community was shocked by the incident.
“The university wants to state clearly that it has no room for any form of criminal behaviour. The management of the university has already forwarded the case to the police for proper investigation,” he stated, and assured that “the university will take the necessary disciplinary action once investigations are concluded.”
Efforts to speak with Rahab who was still receiving treatment at the hospital in Gombe proved abortive as our correspondent was denied access to her by officials observing her, saying it was an order from the Gombe State police command.
The command’s public relations officer, ASP Mahid Mu’azu Abubakar, said Rahab was kept incommunicado from the public to avoid interference with the ongoing investigation. He promised that newsmen would be allowed access to her after the investigation.