Written by Austine ELEMUE

FCTA, stakeholders want tougher measures on orphanage abuse

Following the recent clampdown on orphanages in Abuja, stakeholders last week dialogued on efficient ways of streamlining the activities of these homes, so as to curb proliferation and abuse of the system. 

It could be recalled that recent development concerning the management of orphanages, welfare and wellbeing of children housed in them has brought their activities under intense scrutiny. 

Speaking at the stakeholders' conference held in Abuja, the FCT Permanent Secretary, Sir Christian Ohaa, said the government will no longer condone illegal orphanage homes in the nation's capital. 

Ohaa noted that it was imperative that stakeholders and general public are educated and properly guided as to the extant rules regulating the establishment and management of orphanages, in order to protect all children within the nation's capital from any harm that may expose them to physical, emotional and mental abuse. 

The permanent secretary, who was represented at the occasion by the director, Human Resources, Mr. Lazarus Gaza, said tackling the menace requires a multi-faceted approach that will require a lot of collaboration with stakeholders. 

"It is important to state that matters concerning children are quite diverse and in some cases capital intensive. 

"We strongly believe that all children should have equitable access to and benefit from comprehensive social protection services are safe and protected from abuse, violence exploitation and neglect. 

"They are also unequivocally have access to quality basic education, adequate standard of living, remain healthy, and the right to participate fully in all issues that concerns them". 

Also speaking, the president, Coalition of Orphanages and Children’s Home in Nigeria, COCHIN, Sen. Eze Ajoku, urged governments to do proper monitoring in order to fish out illegal orphanages. 

He also appealed to government to motivate the well-off in society to start orphanage homes because orphanage is a calling and must be done by those who have the heart to give and help the vulnerable. 

 

Earlier in her opening remarks, the Acting Secretary, Social Development Secretariat, SDS, Hajia Safiya Umar, revealed that over 20 orphanage homes in Abuja are operating without proper registration. 

She however regretted that most orphanage homes have been personalised, without adhering to the Child Right Act about establishment of orphanage homes. 

She added that most homes are over populated as against 5 children to a room, to one nanny, the home must be close to a school and health facilities. 

In his presentation at the occasion titled 'Orphanage Safety in Nigeria: The Agenda for the FCTA to set', Prof. Andrew Zamani, decried the state of most orphanages in Abuja   He therefore called on the FCTA to increase legal framework for establishment of orphanages, increase surprise monitoring and intelligence gathering.   

 

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