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Saturday, April 13, 2024

20 Children Rescued As Soludo Seals Orphanage Home in Anambra, Owner Flees

 

By Izunna Okafor, Awka

Governor Chukwuma Soludo-led Anambra State Government has shut down the Arrow of God Community Children’s Home Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government Area of the state, following claims of unlawful adoption and child selling.

The State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Mrs. Ify Obinabo announced the closure of the orphanage after a report and documentary by a journalist, Fisayo Soyombo of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism, which circulated on social media and local television stations, alleging that the state Ministry of Women and Social Welfare took part in an illegal adoption of a baby girl alongside one of the registered orphanages in the State. The Commissioner, in company of security personnel, therefore stormed the orphanage to to seal it off on Wednesday.

It was gathered that the owner and the staff of the orphanage home had fled and were still at large, while some children, numbering up to 20, including a newborn baby, were retrieved from the orphanage operator.

According to reports, children found at the orphanage include ten boys, nine girls, and a newborn baby, all aged between 1 and 17.

Speaking on the matter, Commissioner Obinabo, who denied her Ministry’s involvement in the unlawful child adoption drama, also explained that the founder of the orphanage home, Rev. D.C. Ogo, was invited to her office in Awka for an explanation but was nowhere to be found.

Her words: “The ministry is not aware of any adoption with the Arrow of God Orphanage Home, and the adoption process never went through the ministry.

“There are irregularities in the said adoption which include the absence of three signatories such as the Commissioner, the Head of child, and that of the Permanent Secretary of the Ministry.

“Since I assumed office, all application for court order of adoption or care goes through the designated Children, Sexual and Gender-Based Violence Magistrate Court in Awka as against the Nnewi Court order presented in the documentary. This is so because the fundamental goal is to preserve the best interest of the child.”

The Commissioner further issued a warning to other orphanage home operators engaged in unlawful adoption in Anambra State, warning that the state government is taking all necessary steps to crack down on operators who don’t adhere to the state’s prescribed standardized operational norms and procedures.

Mrs. Obinabo also raised an alarm of many naive people disguising and parading themselves as staff of her Ministry in a bid to help process an illegal adoption or selling of children. She also advised couples planning to adopt a child in the state to exercise greater caution and ensure they carefully follow the normal procedure, as there is no shortcut to it; while ignorance is also not an excuse.

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