The Edo State Government has disclosed plans to set up a committee to monitor and audit orphanage homes in the state, threatening to close down and prosecute orphanage homes operating as businesses as against their designation as charities.
The Commissioner for Social Development and Gender Issues, Maria Edeko, who stated this on Monday, said the committee will formulate holistic policies on the management of orphanage homes and adoption, in line with the state’s child rights law. She said;
“Orphanages are charity homes set up to cater for children without parents, those beyond parental care and other vulnerable persons, whose parents may be alive but are unable to cater for them, but today our people have a misconception about these homes and see them as business ventures.
“They build orphanage homes with the intention to make a profit, rather than for charitable purposes. Some even add a maternity side by side with the orphanage homes where they deliver people of babies and turn the place into a baby factory; they bring underage children to such homes to make babies and sell them, or traffic these children, as far as outside Nigeria, despite the restriction on international adoption.”
“Orphans are vulnerable persons; they are subject to all forms of exploitation; they are vulnerable to being trafficked, abused and sold. You will understand that the issue of human trafficking has been a very strong challenge globally and at the state level, Governor Godwin Obaseki has made serious efforts to stamp out human trafficking in Edo State.
“As the ministry with the responsibility to investigate any adoption process, in line with the Making Edo Great Again Agenda, we are committed to sanitizing the system and will be setting up a committee to audit orphanage homes in Edo State and come up with holistic policies on adoption and management of orphanage homes, in line with the child rights law. This is topmost on our agenda for the new year.”