From Battle Scars to Wedding Bells
On the 24th of March, 2012 my life changed forever.
As the secretary of the History and International Studies
student association at Babcock University (2012),
I was part of the planning process for the annual
departmental field trip.
I woke up bright and early ready to face a wonderful
impactful day planned for my fellow departmental members.
We had organised buses to transport the students to
Badagry Slave Port.
This was an opportunity for us, History students,
to learn more about slave history. It was a wonderful
idea and in retrospect, a great experience for all of us.
After a long day of seeing the chains my ancestors
were bound to as they were sold into the Atlantic slave
trade as well as experiencing the journey to the slave boats,
I was exhausted.
On our way back to school, I got separated from
my friends because I had to give up my seat to
other students who had lost their seats.
It was the right thing to do as a leader,
an act that almost cost me my life.
I went and joined a private car owned by the
university support staff that had accompanied
us on the trip.
The ride back was slow because the private car
kept having mechanical issues.
After stopping a couple of times to either jumpstart
the battery or do something else,
we decided to ditch the car.
Luckily for us, we were able to join one of the
other buses that had a little room for us
to squeeze into.
After a long stressful day, I decided to take
a nap as we journeyed back to school.
I rested my head on the window and fell asleep.
This was the end of a life I once knew.
All I can remember is a very loud deafening
sound and being unconscious.
The Accident according to witnesses
The driver of the bus I had joined had a good
time during the field trip.
He was seen gulping bottles of Alomo bitters
(For the non-Nigerians, this is an alcoholic herbal drink).
While under the influence, he decided it was a good idea
to drive a bus full of students, one lecturer and
one University support staff.
During the drive back, he was driving like an
insane person because he was intoxicated.
The other bus drivers in our convoy tried to
signal him to slow down but he refused.
He kept playing fast and furious by over-taking
vehicles in a reckless manner.
We were on the expressway which had nothing
but thick vegetation to the left and the right.
The Lagos/Abeokuta expressway is a single lane
road with no median for both sides of traffic.
He decided to overtake a vehicle and miscalculated
the speed of the oncoming vehicle.
Realising that it was too late to avoid collision
with the oncoming vehicle, he swerved into the thick forest.
The bus somersaulted a couple of times
till it landed on its side.
It started burning.
Thankfully, one of the other buses on our
convoy watched as this happened and ran to
To note, Nigeria lacked and still lacks proper
infrastructure for emergency services.
The students from the other bus started rescuing
people out of the bus while others attempted
to put out the fire.
Everyone was dragged out of the bus except me.
I had fallen out and was under the burning bus.
They decided to leave the bus to burn out
while they rushed the victims to the Hospital.
I was on the cold ground literally getting roasted.
This happened at about 10 pm.
But something (I know it is the Holy Spirit)
made someone suggest to the group that they
should put out the fire.
They went back to the site and lo and behold,
I was under the burning bus. I was unconscious.
Someone said that the bright coloured shirt
I wore helped them spot me quickly.
I was rescued and rushed to the on-campus Hospital.
Babcock University Teaching Hospital was
brand new at the time and could not manage
that kind of trauma.
The doctors swiftly referred me to Olabisi Onabanjo
University Teaching Hospital.
My classmate Amarachi held me in her arms
as I was transported to the hospital.
It was a 20 minutes drive but it seemed like hours.
What I remember
The conversation between myself and Amarachi
goes as thus:
Amarachi: Bibi stay with me, we are almost there
Me: Wait, what are you talking about. I am fine
Amarachi: Please pinch my hands so I know
you are conscious
Me: I am fine, stop freaking me out
Amarachi: Bibi please don't go, pinch my hands
I soon realised that Amarachi couldn't hear me
and I got confused as to what was going on.
I decided to pinch her hands in response to
her panicky voice.
(In summer 2012, I asked Amarachi about our
conversation and she said I was not talking to her.
She needed me to talk because she felt like
I was slipping away. I asked if she felt my pinch
and she responded by saying a barely scratch her.
But my tiny scratch was enough for her to know
I can hear her even though I couldn't talk.)
When I got to the Hospital, my clothes were
torn in the middle with scissors.
I remember feeling like I was in a scene
from Grey's Anatomy emergency room.
I was butt naked and thoroughly cleaned with
normal saline solution and was wrapped with
a bandage, I felt like an Egyptian mummy.
I got emergency stitches on my hand and
on my face (A cut across my brows).
I told the doctor that I was on my period so
I won't bleed out on the bed and he said "okay".
I was then pushed to the corner of the emergency
room to wait until my people come to claim me.
I'm thankful for the great emergency service
I received. It gave me hope that maybe the
worse was over since I was alive.
LOL, it was only the beginning of a tornado.
This was the end of that day. March 21st, 2012.
March 22nd, 2012.
After receiving emergency treatment, I was
put in a corner to be picked up by my family.
My friends had reached out to my older sisters
(they both lived in the UK at the time) about the accident.
They were scared and did not know how to
inform my parents, at last, they passed the information
to my dad.
My dad was out of town, so he reached out to
his friend who lived around the Hospital to head
down there to be with me.
I was in and out of consciousness for the whole day,
no matter how hard I tried to stay up, I went off easily.
I remember my friend Tega coming to see me at the
Hospital, the look on his face scared me.
I remember my dad’s friend being there,
he looked mortified as well but he prayed with me.
At about 12 pm, my dad showed up.
I don’t remember the look on his face but I was
happy he was coming to take me away.
I remember the look on my dad's drivers face,
he was afraid and shaking.
Transportation was arranged for me to be moved
to my dad's friend private hospital in Lagos.
Throughout the trip, I was in and out of consciousness.
Finally, we arrived at the hospital and I was wheeled in.
The number of tests I had to run was insane.
I don’t remember a lot but I know it was difficult to
get an x-ray because I could not stand.
Injuries and Losses
My legs, my belly, and my arms
sustained third degree burns
My left arm was pierced with
My left eye was filled with blood
Close to my right eye had a very
deep cut that ran above my eyebrow
My cranium sustained fractures
My lecturer that was in the accident
had sustained spleen rupture that led
to his death a few days after the accident
My departmental president almost lost his ears,
I don’t remember the rest of his injuries
Other people on the bus had numerous
injuries, I don’t remember in detail
My dad did not know how to break the news
of what had happened to my mum.
He called and informed her that one of the
children was sick and had been moved to
the hospital. My mum being the super mom,
left work early to make some comfort food and
rushed to the hospital.
I had been put in a private ward for privacy and
the door was shut.
As soon as my mum arrived, she was pulled into
a corner to prep her for what she was about to see.
The doctors told her, your daughter had been
involved in an accident.
She started screaming “I want to see my daughter!
Is she okay? Where is my child?
I want to see my daughter now!”
As soon as they opened the door to my room,
she saw me and fainted.
She could not believe her eyes.
I was wrapped in bandages and was so
swollen and black.
She could not believe it was her sweet child BB.
The following days
I was referred to MeCure in Oshodi for an MRI scan.
This revealed that I had sustained some fractures
in my cranium.
This scared my parents because they did not want
me to undergo any brain-related surgeries.
Thankfully, the neurologist consultant said
I don’t need surgery because I was a young girl.
It will heal on its own. Hallelujah!
Because my face had shifted to the left from
the impact of the accident,
the Physiotherapist came and started minor
therapy to help adjust the shape of my face.
The optometrist came to check on me because
my left eye was filled with blood and my right
eye was smaller than usual for some reason
I don’t remember.
Thankfully, he said I don’t need any eye surgery.
The orthopaedic surgeon came to inspect my
burns to determine a cause of action.
He took a scalpel and started inspecting the
degree of the burns.
My skin felt tight!
I don’t know why but burned skin feels really
tight and looks weird. It was yellowish in colour and
I could't feel any sensation.
He tugged at the burned skin and cut a piece off!
Ouch, that hurt badly.
He instructed the nurses to apply some kind of
creams on my burns daily to help the burns
soften or something.
I don't quite remember the purpose of the cream,
it may have been an antibiotic ointment or thereabout.
A week after the accident, I was beginning to feel better.
I had hope that I was going to be out of the hospital
in a maximum of 2 weeks, LOL.
The cream application went one for about
a month and a half (Mid May),
I was stuck in bed for this whole period.
I didn’t have a full body shower in this month.
My mother took a break from work to stay
in the hospital with me.
(God bless her so much for me)
The orthopedic and cosmetic surgeon came back
to inspect the burns regularly until they decided
it was good enough for surgery.
This was great news to me, surgery meant
I will go home soon.
Right? Boy was I wrong.
I went into surgery expecting to be better
but I got worse.
They had taken off all my burnt skin to remove
all the dead and unhealthy tissue.
Basically, all I had was my flesh wrapped
in a bandage. My flesh, not my skin was all
I had on my legs.
Myself and Olumide (former president of history DPT)
when I was in the hospital
The nurses were instructed to scrub my flesh
with normal saline every 2 days,
place some fresh gauze and wrap me up in bandages.
Those cleaning days were my worst days.
The removal of the bandages from my bloody
flesh was so painful. I would cry, scream, bury
my head in a pillow and be a very mean person
to everyone around me. I was especially mean
to my mum, she did not deserve my transferred anger.
With the cleaning, I lost a lot of blood.
I was transfused like 4 times.
My dad had to donate blood twice for me.
I was depressed and uninterested in everything
around me. I just wanted it to be over.
I did not have access to a psychologist but
my physiotherapist was amazing!
She would always check in on my mental state
during our physio sessions.
I hated that all my friends were back in school
moving on with their lives while I was stuck in
a God-forsaken bed.
I hated the fact that a young man died
as a result of the accident, he had a wife
and a little baby.
I hated the fact that my life was paused and
everyone had their life on "play".
All I did was watched TV all day in the same bed
and look forward to my friends visit.
I just wanted it to all end.
My happiest days were when my friends came to visit,
didn’t like the sad look they had on their faces when
they looked at me.
Howbeit, I was glad they were able to visit.
I made so many promises to God that period.
I just wanted the pain to go away. I wanted the
sadness to go away. I wanted the boredom to
go away. I just wanted to go back to my life.
As I waited for my flesh to "build up" or whatever,
the orthopaedic surgeon always came to check
on the process to determine if I was ready for
the skin graft surgery.
The painful process of cleaning took a month
and the half, I can not imagine anything more
physically painful and strenuous that this.
Basically, I had not showered for 3 months,
my mum cleaned my body every day.
I was confined to a hospital room for 3 months.
The sun did not touch my skin neither did I
know that the outside of my hospital room looked like.
After a month and half of having my flesh
cleaned every two days, the surgeons finally
said I was ready for skin reconstructive surgery.
They explained that I will be undergoing skin
graft surgery. Basically, they were going to copy
skin from my thigh and paste and all my burned
areas. I had two options, mesh graft or sheet graft.
Because the burns on my legs were extensive,
they used mesh to reduce the chances of infections.
The burn on my stomach and arm were covered
with sheet graft.
The surgery was successful, my legs took my thigh
skin very well. The countdown to leaving the
hospital started, thankfully the doctors said
I should be home in a month.
I was so happy to return my life.
I had bandages on both legs, my right thigh
and my arm.
I looked like an original Egyptian mummy, LOL.
The day I was discharged was amazing!
It turns out my legs had forgotten how to walk.
5 months of being “bed-ridden” I had
developed muscle atrophy.
They brought a wheelchair and wheeled
me to the car.
I felt the sun in my face after a long time.
I was so happy, the whole hospital celebrated
my exit. For an eighteen-year-old,
I had seen life according to what everyone said.
The weeks after that, I studied so I could write my exams
that will enable me to enter my final year in college.
I moved from a wheelchair to crutches,
walking still felt foreign to me.
My body tingled really badly for each step I took.
I felt like giving up many times,
it would have been easier to be confined to a wheelchair.
However, I just knew I had to keep preserving.
I walked for 18 years problem free,
I will continue to walk effortlessly. I just needed
to train my legs to do what it already knows how to do.
To the glory of God, I was able to resume
school without crutches in September 2012.
I added a lot of weight from no physical activity,
I was covered with scars and my face was different.
Low self-esteem came in like a flood because
I didn't recognize myself anymore.
I felt like I made people uncomfortable by exposing
Mind you, these scars were not bloody or irritating.
They were just skin graft.
I only wore long skirts, I did not have the audacity
to show the world my scars.
I asked for all sorts of creams and herbal ointment
to try to fade away the scars, nothing worked
as fast as I desired.
My sisters tried to encourage me that it
was nothing but scars, I should not feel
ashamed of my body.
They encouraged me to strut it and own it but
I could not come around to doing all of that.
The stares, the side comments, the pity look;
I was not interested in all of that.
I asked my friend to make me long flowing skirts
and also asked my sisters to send me long skirts
and pantyhose from the UK.
I was determined to cover up my scars for the
rest of my life.
Thankfully, the dress code requirements at
Babcock University made this easy.
I blended in so effortlessly like I had nothing to hide.
But I was hiding, even though I would have
never admitted it to myself.
After 2 years, I started to grow into the woman
I was destined to be and the scars started
to become a part of me.
One thing that really helped with me
getting so comfortable in my skin was moving to the US.
Nobody cared about my scars, nobody dared to stare.
Everyone I spoke to about my self-esteem issues
because of the scar were super supportive.
I am not my scars but my scars are a part of me.
This opportunity helped me develop the courage
to be myself.
Slowly, I started wearing clothes I had not worn in years.
In 2015, my parents asked if I wanted to travel to
India to get rid of my scars, I boldly told them no,
I love my scars.
I had grown to accept it as a part of me.
My low self-esteem got me into a toxic relationship
but God delivered me.
He helped me to see myself for how he sees me,
extremely beautiful and deserving of true love.
People have said this to me, “If I were you, I’d cover it up”.
I just laugh because they don’t know my story
or where I am coming from.
My response is always “I love every part of me
especially my scars, I think they make me very interesting”.
2015, when I gained the confidence to show off my scars
We don’t know what people are going through.
Their experiences can be physical or emotional,
let us be gracious to one another.
For God’s sake, I dare you to be kind.
Unnecessary comments on the internet about
people’s looks are very damaging.
You don’t need to comment on everything
(Proverbs 18:2 A fool takes no pleasure in
understanding, but only in expressing his opinion.)
If you must say anything, let it be seasoned with
encouragement and love.
Today, I strut with my killer legs and amazing
scars because I know that my scars are a
symbol of victory.
I strut them because I need to remind the devil
that he is powerless and all he has is tricks.
I strut because what the devil wanted to use
to cause me pain (the accident),
I overcame through the power of Jesus.
The devil did not stop there, he wanted me
to wallow in self-pity and become a shadow of myself.
He wanted to stop me from falling into purpose
but he has failed miserably and will continue to fail.
I am in Christ therefore, the devil and his schemes
are no match for me. Because of the finished works
of Christ, I am an overcomer.
I am not afraid of the devil because all he
has is schemes, no power.
I am victorious always in Christ!
I am a chosen generation and a royal priesthood,
a royal priesthood, a holy nation and God's
very own person called to show forth God's glory.
Na scars I get, I no kill person.
John 10:10 (GNT) The thief comes only in
order to steal, kill, and destroy. I have come
in order that you might have life—life
in all its fullness.
This is my testimony. I have the fullness of life,
I have life in abundance, I have enjoyment of life!
I don't know what you are going through
but I want to encourage you to cheer up.
Our Redeemer has won all our battles for us.
He fixed it all spiritually hence it manifests in
all aspects of our life positively.
We must remember that whenever the devil
tries to attack, his aim is to take our gaze
off of Jesus.
He wants us to be so focused on our situation '
and forget that we have a great and loving father.
The devil wins when we begin to change our minds
about how much God loves us through thick and thin.
Fix your gaze on Jesus at all times,
don't let the devil take your attention away.
You are loved by God unconditionally,
it's not by what you do or don't do.
His love is constant.
If God can love you when we were dead in sin,
there's nothing that can change his mind about you.
- Bibi Ikotun (Nee Babatunde)
Her story was culled from her website
GSW's Notes: Today is Bibi's wedding!
She is getting married to Busayo Ikotun
(There is no B without BB!)
The two of them and April, an
American lady friend of theirs who came to Nigeria
to attend the wedding were with me
on Wednesday, 20th November 2019!
We had a good time praying together in the Holy Ghost!
What are you going through at
this moment? What is it?
There is one who keeps calling
you into His rest!
If you see yourself through His eyes,
you will flying without wings!
Congratulations to Bibi and Busayo,
Pastor and Pastor (MRS) Joseph O. Babatunde
(The General Overseer of Peculiar Gospel
Outreach Ministry), The Ikotun Family,
PSSBCNigeria and the body of Christ!
The Holy Spirit is birthing wonders,
I am so glad to be a witness and
a partaker of His Glory!