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Saturday, December 26, 1998 Published at 17:46 GMT


Gifts pour in for octuplets

Ms Chukwu has yet to see her babies

The parents of the world's only surviving octuplets have been inundated with gifts from well-wishers.

Mother Nkem Chukwu, 27, is in a stable condition in hospital in Houston, but her eight babies remain in a critical condition.

They are expected to need intensive care for weeks.

Their father, Iyke Louis Udobi, has referred to his children repeatedly as "gifts" and "blessings" from God.

[ image: Babies expected to need intensive care for weeks]
Babies expected to need intensive care for weeks
Oni Chukwu, the mother's brother, said he is "the proudest uncle and this is the most wonderful gift".

The family has had more than 300 offers from prospective babysitters.

Material gifts have poured into the hospital from companies, individuals and members of the Texas city's Nigerian community.

A lifetime supply of nappies and cots for the babies have been given, as well as oil changes and tires for the family's car.

The Nigerian Embassy in Washington has also donated $10,000 to the family.

[ image: Iyke Louis Udobi is due to answer domestic violence charges]
Iyke Louis Udobi is due to answer domestic violence charges
One gift which is yet to come for Ms Chukwu is being able to see or hold her babies.

She is still weak from months of bed rest and has not seen her children.

Their father said he visits them every day. "I have to," Mr Odubi said. "We are body and soul."

He is due to answer domestic violence charges in court.

The charges relate to an incident in September when he quarrelled with his pregnant wife and allegedly hit his 63-year-old mother-in-law with a chair.

Mr Odubi said said every family runs into problems, but he had settled the matter with his wife.

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