Written by Austine ELEMUE

SDS rescues 19 children from Zuba orphanage

The FCT Social Development Secretariat SDS, last week evacuated 19 children from Famouskids Orphanage Home, in Tungan Maje area of Zuba, Gwagwalada area council, Abuja over alleged negligence and other nefarious activities. 

Also, the SDS officials accompanied by joint team of security personnel stormed and sealed off the premises of the orphanage, which also runs a school in the area. 

Our correspondent reports that the Famouskids orphanage home had 25 children as inmates, but only 19 ages 4-17 years were met as at the time of unscheduled visit to the orphanage. 

Speaking with journalists during the exercise, SDS's Acting Secretary, Hajiya Safiya Umar, said the action followed a request by the police authorities in the area asking the secretariat to evacuate the children from the orphanage home. 

Umar added that following information from the police that the owner of the orphanage, Nkechi Udoh had abandoned the home, the SDS was given a directive to pick up kids and transfer them to government facility till when she returns from wherever she went to. 

According to her, preliminary report revealed that most of the children are brought to Abuja from Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states, and were left since February, 2019 in the care of a 23 year old, who claimed to be an undergraduate of the University of Abuja. 

"The police wrote to SDS to come and evacuate the children, meaning there are a lot of things happening in this orphanage. From our investigation here, we have come to realize that there are other linkages with some other orphanages in Abuja. 

"It appears it is a big business in orphanages, which the government is expected to look into it. It is quite unfortunate that people are now using orphanages as their own personal businesses. 

"They are using the children as personal business; here, a mother deposited her two children voluntarily and is asking the woman to give her children and she has taken to her heels.

"As we are here the police are asking us to resolve the issues, we don’t know which issue, the police in Tundan Maje, the area command reached out to us. And a child is missing and one child means a lot to the world. 

"Orphanages are not meant to sell children. Reliably from the police, the child might have been sold and she is in Lagos, which they are now trying to track," she explained. 

She added: "with this latest development, with children allegedly being sold, we have started a clamp down on orphanages, we want to know where the children are coming from. It is not in our jurisdiction to collect children from other states, because all the 36 states have social welfare as a department and they have facilities for orphanages." 

Our correspondent reports that 19 children that were rescued range from ages of 4,7,8,11, 16 and 9, comprising boys and girls. 

They were evacuated to Unity Home Gwako, owned by the FCT Administration for proper care, pending when the issue is will be resolved. 

However, the orphanage founder, Nkechi Udoh, was nowhere to be found, but the police officer familiar with the woman’s activities, who asked not to be named, told journalists that they were tracking her for arrest. 

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