The desk officer for adoption, fostering and NGOs in the Child Development Department of Federal Ministry of Women Affairs, Fawekun Oyeyemi has commended operators of orphanage homes in FCT for their selfless service to humanity.
She said the main responsibility of her office is to see that the child is developed to the stage he/she can begin to manage him/herself. She posited that there is no child that is not a child; whether abandoned or whatever. “All children came to the world to live their lives. If their biological parents abandon them the society should not abandon them. Some of them can become president tomorrow”, she submitted.
She said the reason for orphanages is to cater for abandoned children and the likes. She explained that orphanages are run by the states while the federal make policies. “We at the federal are policy makers. We help every state that is in need”, she said.
Oyeyemi said one of the challenges confronting her office bothers on those that keep more children than they can cater for.
She said her office monitors activities of these homes but always in conjunction with the states. She pleaded with the operators of homes to keep only the number of children they can cater for; “And we are pleading on behalf of the children that the homes should have children they can cater for”, she pleaded on behalf of her ministry.
The activities of the homes were highly appreciated by Fawekun Oyeyemin in these words; “Without the orphanages and NGOs we cannot do our work. They complement us. We appreciate them because without them we cannot achieve anything. They are our partners in progress.
“But when it comes to subvention, for now we are handicapped”, she asserted.
She reminded her audience that some NGOs were given some grants in the past.
On adoption, she said that the federal where she represents does not handle adoption. According to her it is the states that handle adoption, but must send data to the federal for documentation and post adoption monitoring.
It is the federal that do recertification of adoption if the adopted child will be taken outside the shores of the country. She said that recertification request from the states are sent to the minister for recertification through the Child Right Act and subsequently sent to the embassy, immigration NAPTIP etc. She said this process can be done within two weeks of the request. She also revealed that before a child is taken outside the country, there must be a bonding between the mother and the father as the case may be.
The Director of Gender Development Department of Social Development Secretariat, whose office organized the event, Hajia Asmau Abe Wala reiterated the resolve of her department to make sure that orphanage homes are run according to laid down rules. One of them is that every organization that has anything to do with the child must be registered with gender department. Such centers are; orphanages, crèches, and pre-schools.
She asked the police which are their major partner to always reach out to her office wherever there is any case of child abuse report in their stations.
She thanked stakeholders, especially the operators of centers for their partnership over the years.
The Acting Secretary of Social Development Secretariat, Mrs. Irene Elegbede was unavoidably absent and was represented by Danjuma Kuyenbo. In her opening address at the stakeholders meeting of operators of child care institutions in FCT – children homes, crèches, pre-school and centers for special needs, read by her representative, she expressed her believe that children, irrespective of circumstances they found themselves have the potential of making meaningful contribution to the socio-economic and political development of the society if properly harnessed. This according to her requires team work in view of the enormous task involved vis-à-vis the available resources.
She warned that the Secretariat will do everything within its power to ensure that care providers do not take advantage of the innocent children under their care. She therefore called on the operators to carry out their duties with a high sense of responsibility and in accordance with laid down rules and regulations of the Capital Territory.
The proprietor of Rachael’s Home Rachael Alaje who was at the eventnarrated the problem operators of orphanage homes go through while trying to raise the children in their care. She said the major constraint was fund to run the homes effectively.
The representative of the Nigerian Police Force, The DPO of Gwagwalada Police Division, CSP Danjuma Y. I., has said that the police is ever ready to protect the right of every Nigerian child. He said the police have a department in every division that handles issues concerning the child. The department according to him is called Juvenile and Welfare Center.
Contributing at the stakeholders meeting of operators of children homes – orphanages, crèches, pre-school, etc., he said his division has been partnering with the secretariat in trying to rehabilitate abandoned children. He promised that his division will try as much as possible to bring to book anybody that is involved in child abuse.