Grandmum At 30! Heart Wrenching Stories Of Teen Mothers Inside Ibadan Slums

-Ayanda Ayotunde


Idayat Biobaku wakes up 5:30 am everyday, the single mother-of-four is a fish seller at the popular Oja-Oba market in Ibadan. She wakes up to keep a daily routine, a challenging life as she has three mouths to feed, clothe and shelter.

This writer has known the 30-year-old Secondary School ‘drop out’ since 2018. From the moment I step out from the car, she would run to me, shouting ‘customer’ and follows me round the market, helping me haggle with other market women who she tells ‘he is my baba-oko’ (an inlaw) before we return to her spot where I buy from her till we meet again.

On one occasion she was absent from the market, I made an enquiry and learnt she was sick and I felt it wouldn’t be a bad idea to check on her since I heard she lives some streets away from the market.

Idayat lives in a one-bedroom inside a dilapidated building around Beere. She was sitting outside feeding a baby when she spotted me and shouted ‘ah customer!’, and that was the beginning of a close relationship between us and the expose to an unusual way of living in the ‘interior’ parts of Ibadan.

Idayat became very open and ask me all the questions bothering her. I became her counsel in the area of relationship, health, finance etc. It was in the course of that I learnt she is already a grandmother, Idayat was just 30!

She is a single mother, she had three children for three different fathers, and the last child she takes with her to the market, is her grandchild, a baby named Ahmed.

Motherhood started early for Idayat. She had her first child, Anifa when she was 16 and in SS1. She dropped out of school and learnt tailoring. It was there she met a guy, Johnson who was a furniture maker. They had an affair that resulted in her having another child, a girl. Johnson, is described as a very loving man that stood by her and helped her fight her shame, unfortunately he was a victim of a gun fight between the police and the notorious ‘1 Million Boys’ some years ago in Ibadan. Johnson was killed and his family threw Idaya out claiming he wasn’t married to her and threatened to come back for his child when they have money for a DNA to determine the child’s paternity.

Idaya had a a third affair which she wasn’t willing to talk about, another child came out of that brief relationship and she ended up having four children to cater and carry about the responsibility of a 30-year-old single mum, and a grandmum at that!

She revealed she wasn’t the biological mother of the youngest child. She confessed her first child, Anifa made a similar mistake she made and got pregnant at 14 for a stranger, a man she only knew his phone number and not his address. She took the baby from her to cover the shame, Anifa now lives with a family member in Abeokuta where she is learning a trade.

Idayat story is one of the many tales surrounding teen marriages and teen pregnancy in different parts of Ibadan.

It’s not an unusual sight seeing pregnant, under-aged girls loitering markets and stalls in the city, it’s an alarming trend that moves from one generation to the other.

In 2015, an independent report claimed in Nigeria, an estimated 23 percent of women aged 15-19 years have begun childbearing, of which 17 percent have had their first child and 5 percent are pregnant with their first child. Also, 32 percent of teenagers in rural areas have begun childbearing, as opposed to 10 percent in the urban areas of Nigeria.

In 2018, the percentage in urban areas increased to 28, while no one can rightly put a figure to what it becomes in 2020.

Factors contributing to teenage pregnancy include: dowry payment, poverty, low educational status, poor quality, and access to, reproductive health services, peer pressure, tradition and culture.