27 July 2012

Nigeria: 'Why 25 Children Were Evacuated From an Orphanage'

Secretary of the FCT Social Development Secretariat, Mrs. Blessing Onuh Wednesday accused Rachel's Orphanage of failing to obtain approval for their operation and jam-packing 25 children in a two bedroom flat with a single toilet.

She said it is the mandate of the secretariat to manage orphanages and also ensure that private ones operate based on approval.

"We got a hint that there was an illegal orphanage operating within the city and sent our officers to find out," she said.

According to her, after assessing the place, the children were evacuated and are now in better hands at the secretariat's orphanage.

Onuh, who spoke through Amina Abubakar, director Gender Development in the secretariat, stated that anyone who wants to operate an orphanage must be properly equipped to do so, adding that defaulters would be prosecuted because children in the home deserve to be properly nurtured.

Our reporter gathered that the operation to raid the orphanage at Garki Zone 7 followed tip-off by concerned neigbours, who alerted the FCT Social Development Secretariat about the state of the orphanage.

The two bedroom apartment is also occupied by the owners of the orphanage, Mr. and Mrs. Alaja as well as their children, while it was alleged that the 25 kids were cramped in a room measuring about '10 x 11', described by the social development officials as grossly inadequate.

Onuh said the 25 children have been taken to Gwagwalada Orphanage, where they are being properly looked after and attended to medically.

Reacting to the allegation, operator of the home, Rachel Alaja said she had applied for approval and has passion for orphans who were brought to her to look after.

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