Mentally-challenged woman delivers baby by roadside in Lagos | International Centre for Investigative Reporting

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A yet-to-be-identified mentally-challenged woman was on Wednesday captured by Ademola Akinlabi, a Nigerian photojournalist shortly after she delivered a baby by the roadside in Abule Egba area of Lagos. 

The pictures which were sighted by The ICIR show the new mother hoarding a pile of garbage that was placed on her head while backing her child with the aid of a sack-like cloth tied to her chest.

In one of the photos, the mother can be seen sitting on the pavement by the road while breastfeeding her newborn, only stopping to drink water from a plastic bottle.

Akinlabi told The ICIR that all attempts to speak to the woman were futile as she remained mute, refusing to answer any of the questions directed at her.

After a short while, the mother walked away with her child and belongings, Akinlabi.

Although Nigeria has an established Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development, the country struggles to run a functional social welfare system that caters to vulnerable groups.

With a mission “to provide relief for distressed persons, vulnerable/disadvantaged members of the society as well as the promotion of cohesiveness and creation of condition conducive for social progress,” the Social Welfare Department under the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development is responsible for care and support of all vulnerable groups (destitute, the indigent, the sick and their families) but is largely constrained due to lack of enforcement of its mandate by the Federal Government.

Nigeria currently spends less on social protection than many other African countries, despite its relative wealth, according to a 2012 synthesis report by the Overseas Development Institute.

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