Anambra moves against alleged child trafficking at Orphanage

By Ologeh Joseph Chibu

The Anambra State Government has moved against alleged traficking in an Orphanage in the South East State

The Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare in Anambra State,
Ify Obinabo took the decisive action by ordering the closure of the Arrow of God Community Children’s Home located in Onitsha, the state’s commercial hub

The decision was prompted by disturbing allegations of illicit adoption and the unauthorized sale of children.

Leading a team of security personnel, Obinabo executed the closure of the facility on a Wednesday. The catalyst for this action was a comprehensive report and accompanying documentary created by Fisayo Soyombo. The report gained significant traction on both social media platforms and local television channels. This exposé shed light on purported wrongdoings within the State’s Ministry of Women and Social Welfare, implicating them in an unlawful adoption scheme involving an infant girl. This incident was linked to one of the registered homes under the Ministry’s jurisdiction.

The operation led to the retrieval of around 20 children from the orphanage. Among these children was a newborn baby.

Notably, the founder of the institution and its staff had already absconded and are presently evading authorities.
The age range of the rescued children spanned from one to 17 years old, encompassing ten boys and nine girls, in addition to the recently born infant.

Refuting any connection between herself and the ministry with the illicit child adoption controversy, Obinabo firmly stated that she and her ministry were not implicated. She went on to share that the founder of the orphanage, Rev D.C Ogo, had been summoned to her office in Awka to provide an account of the situation. Regrettably, Ogo chose not to comply with the invitation, failing to appear for the requested explanation.

She said, “The ministry is not aware of any adoption with the Arrow of God Orphanage home even 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.”

She issued a strong caution to any other individuals operating children’s homes and engaging in illicit adoption activities, urging them to immediately halt their actions or be prepared to confront the full weight of the consequences.

She underlined that the state government had mobilized to take stringent measures against operators who fail to adhere to the mandated standardized operational guidelines and procedures within the state.

Furthermore, she offered counsel to parents who are considering adoption within the state, advising them to exercise heightened caution. She pointed out that there were now individuals falsely presenting themselves as consultants from the ministry, supposedly assisting in the adoption process. This warning served as a reminder for prospective parents to be vigilant and discerning in their interactions.

“The general public should note that the state Ministry of Women and Social Welfare did not engage the services of any consultant.

“We urge everyone to always report any suspicious activity found in any orphanage homes to the ministry even as we assured of making sure that the operator of the said orphanage home is brought to book in no distant time.

“The children recovered are currently in the care of the state government as necessary steps are underway to trace and reunite them with their different families,” she added.

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