Forty-five-year-old Amina Abubakar, who resides in Minna, the capital of Niger State, said she lacked the funds to pay for surgery to remove one of the organs.
Some groups use an old prevalence statistic that says we make up 1 in 2000, or .05%, percent of the population, but that statistic refers to one specific intersex trait, ambiguous genitalia, which is but one of many variations which, combined (as they are in medical diagnostics and coding), constitute the 1.7% estimate.
As reported by Punch, The matter was brought to the notice of Niger State Child Rights Protection Agency on Friday.
The child, a primary four pupil in Bosso Local Government Area of Niger, has been depressed since growing up to realise that she was not normal like other children, the mother said.
“When I noticed my daughter had two sexual organs, a penis and a vagina, I informed my husband and members of his family but they did not show any concern.
“My husband and I have been separated for 10 years and he is remarried to another woman in Sokoto and I do not have money to take my daughter to the hospital, so I decided to keep the issue a secret till now.
“Ever since my daughter grew up to discover that she was not normal like other children, she has been depressed, she does not mingle or play with other children, she is always quiet and keeping to herself,” Abubakar said.
She, however, appealed to the state government to assist the child to undergo the operation to remove one of the organs.
Malama Aishatu Mohammed, the child’s teacher, said that Abubakar had informed the school of her daughter’s refusal to bathe for days and the school assigned female students to bathe her in school.
“It was in the process of bathing that the pupils assigned noticed that the child had female and male organs,” she said.
Mohammed added that the matter was reported to the headmaster of the school, who reported the matter to the agency.
Meanwhile, Mrs Mairam Kolo, Director-General of the agency, has given an assurance that the agency will make arrangements for the child to undergo surgery with assistance from Gov. Abubakar Bello to enable the child to continue her education.
She said that already, medical tests had been conducted on the child at Minna General Hospital and that more examinations would be conducted to determine where the surgery could be done.
Kolo, however, said the agency would empower the mother to enable her take care of the child.
Dr Uchinna Iroka of Minna General Hospital described hermaphroditism as a genetic abnormality in which an organism (person) is born with a particular phenotype, female or male, but expressing male and female genitalia.
He explained that in the developed world, children born with such condition were not considered abnormal because of the level of awareness.
Iroka said surgery in such situation was usually done before the child would become an adult.
He said that in a developing world, ignorance, illiteracy and fear of stigmatisation forced parents to hide such cases, thereby making the child grow up in a condition that should have been handled earlier.
Iroka noted that the tendency of such children growing up to be anti-social, afraid to associate and feel inferior was high.
He said such instance could result in psycho-social issues, such as depression, anxiety, anti-social behaviour, poor academic performance, anger towards parents and suicidal tendencies.
He advised parents to always report such cases to the appropriate authority at an early stage for quick corrective measures.