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ByCitizen NewsNG

Aug 31, 2020

The Federal Medical Centre, Yola, has successfully separated a set of Siamese twins. The set, both girls, now eight months old, looked vibrant in the hands of their mother as she fielded questions from newsmen on Saturday. The twins had been flown by the Nigeria Air Force to Yola in January from the Bayelsa State capital, Yenagoa, when they were only a couple of weeks old and joined around the abdomen, but the surgery to remove them was delayed due to COVID-19 exigencies.

The Medical Director of the FMC Yola, Prof. Auwal Abubakar, who spoke to newsmen on Saturday during a farewell for the twins and their parents, said the surgery which separated them was finally done on the 10th of this month, August. Explaining the circumstances, he said, “We were getting set to do the surgery when COVID-19 came. It was a new disease and we were learning to cope with it. Many services at the hospital were suspended and even to get certain consumables was difficult. The separation was done on the 10th of August and there was no problem at all. We discharged them from intensive care on the third day. They are fully okay.”

He disclosed that a 48-member team comprising specialist surgeons, anesthetics consultants, nurses, technicians, among others, carried out the operation with the aid of sophisticated machines, some recently donated by the Nigeria Liquefied Gas Ltd (LNG).

Responding to the question of why the conjoined twins had to be taken all the way from the sister FMC Yenagoa to Yola, Prof Auwal said Yola has a recent history of successful Siamese twins separations. “This is the third separation we have done here in Yola. We did two when I was in Maiduguri (Maiduguri Teaching Hospital). So this makes the fifth that my team has done. In all the five, I have been the lead surgeon,” Prof. Auwal explained.

He expressed concern, however, that the parents of the newly separated twins are young secondary school leavers who are both jobless and need assistance in form of fund for business or employment or further education for one of them.

Mother of the now independently functioning twins, Mrs. Ayebaekipreye Ebi, said the twins were born through cesarean operation on December 12, 2019, at the Nembe General Hospital, from where they were referred to FMC Yenagoa and subsequently to Yola.

Ayebaekipreye who is 25 years old, said she and her husband, 27-year-old Ralph Raphael, were struck with apprehension when what they thought was one baby, came out as two but joined together. “My immediate reaction was ‘why me’ and I passed out and remained unconscious for three days,” she recalled.

She thanked the FMC Yola for keeping and feeding them these past eight months and for now giving separate lives to their children through the August 10 surgery, all for free, and the Nigeria Air Force for lifting them to Yola and offering to take them back to Yenagoa now that they are set to return home.


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