…Orphanage Owner At Large
The Anambra State Government has swooped down on Arrows of God Community Children’s Home in the Oyi Local Government Area of the state and closed it permanently following claims of unlawful adoption and child trafficking.
The State Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, announced the closure of the orphanage after a documentary report by a journalist, Fisayo Soyombo, of the Foundation for Investigative Journalism.
Obinabo, in the company of security personnel, stormed the orphanage and sealed it off on Wednesday.
It was gathered that the owner and the staff members of the orphanage had fled and are still at large, while some children, numbering up to 20, including a newborn baby, were retrieved from the orphanage home.
The statistics of children found at the orphanage include ten boys, nine girls, and a newborn baby, all aged between 1 and 17.
Speaking on the matter, the commissioner, 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 questioning but he never showed up.
Obinabo said, “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 that of the Commissioner, the Head of Children’s Unit 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 engaging in unlawful adoption in Anambra State to desist as the state government is taking all necessary steps to crack down on operators who don’t adhere to the state’s prescribed and standard operational norms and procedures.
Obinabo also raised the alarm that many people are disguising and parading themselves as staff of the Ministry to help process illegal adoption or sale of children.
She also advised couples planning to adopt children in the state to exercise greater caution and ensure they carefully follow the normal procedure, as there is no shortcut to child adoption in the state as ignorance is also not an excuse.