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Monday, 19 February 2024 17:30

FCTA seals orphanage over alleged trafficking of 23 children

The Mandate Secretary of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Women Affairs Secretariat, Mrs Adedayo Benjamins-Laniyi, has sealed off an orphanage, known as the Priesthood Orphanage in Karonmajigi.

The move followed the rescue of 23 children, aged between 1 and 14 years, who were trafficked from Plateau state and found within the premises of the orphanage.

Addressing reporters on Monday, Benjamins-Laniyi stated that the FCT Minister, Nyesom Wike, had granted authorization to the Secretariat to conduct a thorough profiling and recertification of orphanages operating within the nation’s capital.

She said: “There is no question, yesterday, with immediate effect, that ‘home’ was sealed, shut down. We have the name of the proprietor of the orphanage home, but we are not naming names now for obvious reasons. When the entire material investigation is concluded, there will be an official gazetted presentation of the facts, the findings and the delivery of this intervention we’ve started here today.

“NAPTIP, as we speak is already on it. Using this as an example, one of the first things I have done is to get approval for the recertification of orphanage homes in Abuja. The Minister has approved that there will be a full thorough re-profiling of anything that has to do with orphanage and recertification status of all orphanages in Abuja.”

She noted that the Women’s Secretariat was already working with the office of the Commissioner of Women Affairs of Plateau State, to reunite the children with their families, some of whom she said had been at the uncertified orphanage for five years, since 2019.

She said: “We are working with the Plateau state government to reunite the children that I had earlier mentioned by name and by age, with their families in Plateau state. This is a transition arrangement.”

The Plateau State Commissioner for Women Affairs, Mrs. Caroline Dafur, narrated that the Proprietors of the orphanage home abandoned the children at the orphanage, under the care of one Pastor Abraham, in a terrible condition of hunger.

She noted: “Three of the children had then escaped and were discovered by officers of the Federal Road Safety Corps, who reported the case to the NAPTIP and took the children to the Human Rights Radio, who then notified the Plateau State government and the FCT Women’s Secretariat.

“We came in yesterday and on reaching here, we were told that they went to church. We kept going from one church to another, looking for them until we found them in a Deeper Life Church, where we were able to pick them up, and we went to the home. And we saw the place it is not supposed to be called a home.

“The place is just so unkempt. I wonder how the children were sleeping in the small room. Nine girls were sleeping in a very small room with just two mattresses. And then for the boys, they were in a small room too, with two mattresses just on the floor. And I mean, it’s so pathetic the way human beings treat human beings in this country.”

She stated the displeasure of the Plateau state government while appreciating the Mandate Secretary for the assistance in evacuating the children, and relocating them to the Karu Children’s Home.

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