Amnesty 2018: Hope in tears as hefty hospital bills halt her chance to exit UAE

The toddler and her mother have been going from door-to-door in search of help.

Abandoned by her husband, a Nigerian mother and her eight-month-old baby are unable to avail of the UAE amnesty due to the non-payment of hefty hospital bills.

Twenty-nine-year-old Hope Edemevughe delivered baby Favour Edemevughe on December 26 last year. Hope’s 34-year-old husband transferred the hefty hospital bills to her name and is said to have abandoned his wife and daughter at the Sheikh Khalifa Hospital in Ajman.

Unemployed Hope and baby Favour have been surviving off the mercy of a group of friends ever since. Furthermore, since her mother could not settle the Dh12,492 hospital bill, Favour’s birth certificate could not be issued. However, on Thursday, the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Dubai issued an emergency travel document to her so that they can travel to Lagos in Nigeria. The travel certificate for Favour is valid only for one month and Hope wants to head back home to Delta State with her daughter during the ongoing amnesty.

However, that is not enough since the mother and daughter do not have the means to travel until the hospital bills are settled.

Speaking to Khaleej Times from an old villa in the Karama area of Ajman, a very distressed Hope said: “My husband left us almost immediately after he saw the bills. I haven’t heard from him since. He is here in the UAE, but he has not met his baby girl even once.” The couple got married in November 2010.

“Without my knowledge, my husband transferred the hospital bills to my name. I was unconscious in the hospital when he did that. I have not been able to pay the money to clear the dues since I stopped working three months into my pregnancy,” she said. Baby Favour has not received any vaccinations and on some days, does not have proper food to eat.

Hope arrived in Dubai in October 2015 in the hope to find a job as her husband has been working as a chef in Dubai for several years.

“I have a bachelor’s degree in Public Administration from the University of Nigeria,” she said. After months of searching, Hope found work in a general trading company in Dubai in 2015, and she got pregnant last year.

“The owner of the company on whose employment visa I was, fled the country. I was left jobless, and I was abandoned by my husband and left to take care of my baby. I’ve been looking for work for several months, but people are not keen on hiring me given that I have a small baby,” she said. Hope’s visa expired in February this year.

The toddler and her mother have been going from door-to-door in search of help. Hope has approached many charities and has also gone to the amnesty centre at Al Aweer, but to no avail.

Khaleej Times reached out to the Nigerian Embassy in Abu Dhabi with information about Hope, and her case was immediately referred to the Consulate-General of Nigeria in Dubai.

An official informed Khaleej Times over the phone that her case will be looked into. Khaleej Times also tried to reach out to Hope’s husband with a number provided by her, but the calls went unattended.


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