Daily Trust (Abuja)

22 December 2012

Nigeria: Bauchi Boy's Dilemma - 'Remain Male With No Manhood or Become Female'

Bauchi — After having his manhood amputated by a neighbour, 12-year-old Ayuba Halilu and his parents have to choose between two options: allow Ayuba to remain a male without manhood or undergo sex change to become female.

The story of 12-year-old Ayuba Halilu of Mararraban Liman Katagum village in Bauchi Local Government Area of Bauchi State is a pathetic one. Being the easy going boy his fellow villagers say he is, he agreed to accompany his neighbour Tukur Iliyasu to a nearby bush to fetch firewood.

Unknown to young Ayuba, however, Tukur had a sinister plan.

In their accounts of the incident, the villagers said when Tukur and Ayuba reached the bush, the former over powered the latter and cut off his manhood together with testis as well as cut his neck and stomach with knife. Ayuba was left unconscious in the pool of his own blood. He was later rescued by the police and some good Samaritans who took him to the Abubakar Tafawa Balewa Teaching Hospital Bauchi. He was later transferred to the Federal Medical Center, Gombe for further medical attention.

Meanwhile, Tukur fled the village to an unknown destination and till date no one knows his whereabouts.

Police Public Relations Officer ASP Hassan Mohammed Auyo said "the prime suspect (Tukur) is still at large."

Investigations by Weekly Trust revealed that parents of the prime suspect had sold their only house in Mararraban Liman Katagum, for fear of the unknown, and left to a destination no one knows, making it difficult to apprehend the suspect.

Weekly Trust gathered that "when the boy returned from Federal Medical Center, Gombe, his parents through the assistance of Governor Isa Yuguda's aide wrote a letter informing the state government of their plight. Yuguda directed the State Commissioner for Health Dr. Sani Malami to find out the boy's condition and advise him accordingly.

Dr. Malami also donated N200,000 to the family on behalf of Governor Isa Yuguda and announced to the governor's pledge to pick up all medical expenses incurred in the course of treating the boy and bring the culprit to book. Yuguda eventually paid a personal visit to the boy.

However, Weekly Trust gathered that Ayuba's trouble took another dimension shortly after Yuguda's visit as disagreement ensued between the parents of the boy and the officials of the Bauchi State Ministry of Health. Ayuba was also taken to the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital.

Ayuba's parents accused the officials of the Ministry of Health of not taking the treatment of the little boy seriously. They said the officials supposed to take their full responsibility even if it means taking their boy outside the country for treatment.

The parents alleged that they had to borrow money before they completed the last 27 days in the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital because the N400,000 given to them by the state Health Commissioner was exhusted during test and investigations in the teaching hospital.

They also said that the initial N200, 000 given to them by the government was used to settle the debt on the treatment of the boy at Gombe Federal Medical Center.

But the commissioner said "the parents of the boy were ungrateful to the government, because he has to force them to take the boy to the teaching hospital in Maiduguri after they had collected the N400,000 and he knows the consultant there he is capable to treat the little Ayuba.

"When they reached Maiduguri, the parents of the boy said they were asked to go to Maiduguri instead of taking them to abroad as directed by the governor, and alleged that the parents of the boy refused to cooperate with the consultant, and there is no way I can advise the government to take you abroad after I know that we have good doctors who are capable of treating the boy here in Nigeria."

Weekly Trust obtained a copy of the medical report for the treatment of the boy from the Department of Surgery University of Maiduguri signed by Dr. Chubado Tahir, Consultant Plastic and Reconstructive Surgeon. The report, which was sent to the Bauchi State Health Commissioner, was titled "Re: Ayuba Halilu Liman, 12 year old male Hosp; No 280941."

It thanked the commissioner for "referring the above 12-year-old boy who had his genitalia amputated and throat cut following assault. On review, we found the intelligent boy who was depressed otherwise fit, had total amputation of the genitalia, including the scrotum and testes, the area was completely healed and there was also a healed scar on the neck."

The report added that "basic investigations were done including hormonal assay and the results were within normal limits except testosterone which was the lower limit, psychiatrists invited to review him made a diagnosis of depression which he was placed on antidepressants, absents of the testes which is the primary source of male hormones enormously complicates the treatment options, these include 1. Reconstructing Male genitalia and placing him on testosterone replacement for life, this has serious draw backs because of the need to use implant and the long term complication from the use of testosterone, and also uncertainty of the patient being able or willing to use it for life."

According to the report, the second option is "constructing a female genitalia and basically gender reassignment, this is an easier option and less challenging, however because of his age, he has developed a personality and already has male friends. This is also a difficult option, I have discussed with our pediatric surgeons in light of their experience in managing cases of ambiguous genitalia and we agree on these options, all of the above have been explained to the parents, I also sought the opinion of Dr. Raja Sabaphaty, a world renown plastic and reconstructive surgeon, in India who strongly believes the gender reassignment is the best option, which ever option the parents decide, it is my belief that they can get the best available treatment from Dr. Sabaphaty, if that is the case I will be glad to write a referral."

Father of the boy Malam Halilu Liman told newsmen that "government was silent since when we came back from the University of Maiduguri Teaching Hospital. The Permanent Secretary of the Ministry of Health invited us to choose changing the boy from male to become female or to help him to become male without manhood, and we chose to help the boy to become male without manhood. But since then, we did not hear anything from the officials of the state Ministry of Health."

Malam Halilu appealed to Governor Yuguda to intervene and save the life of the boy. "He (Ayuba) hardly goes seven straight days without falling ill. We are grateful for what the governor did to help bring the boy to his present condition. We will appreciate it if more can be done."

Dr. Malami said if the parents of the boy choose the option of gender reassignment for the boy to become female then they should go to the ministry and inform him and he will take all the necessary action "because the best option for the boy is to turn him to a female."

The commissioner said they have asked religious scholars who cautioned against turning the boy to a girl and reiterated the commitment of the ministry to assist the boy as promised by Governor Yuguda.

Meanwhile, Bauchi State Government has pledged to pay N2 million to anybody who will give useful information that will lead to the arrest of the culprit that cut off Ayuba's manhood.

For now, young Ayuba's fate hangs in the balance as people wait to see the next action his parents or government will take.

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