Illegal Adoption: Rights Activist Wants Culprits Arrested, Orphanages Sealed, Victims Protected

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    By ONYEKACHUKWU MELUWA, Warri

    A Child Rights Activist, Comrade Ighorhiowhunu Aghogho today urged the Director-General of the Department of State Security (DSS), Yusuf Magaji Bichi to protect all children who are victims of illegal adoption from 2008 till date and arrest the perpetrators who are mainly officials of the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs in its ongoing investigation in Delta State.
    Aghogho made the call in a statement signed and made available to AUTHENTIC News Daily  in Warri.
    Aghogho has been hosted three consecutive times by DSS Delta State Command, Asaba to substantiate his allegation as contained in his various petition against the Chief Judge of Delta State, Justice Marshal Mukoro.
    Aghogho had indicted Justice Marshal Mukoro in his petitions via a letter dated 8th January 2019.
    Aghogho in his statement averred that, he has tendered dozens of evidence to substantiate his claims as contained in the various petition forwarded to DSS in the State.
    “My allegation before DSS is that, the Commissioner of Women Affairs and Officials of the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs steal children, unlawfully detain these children in any orphanage of their choice without an order of Court, release these children to prospective adopters without an order of Court and connive with some Judicial Officers from the Delta State Judiciary to fraudulently obtain an adoption order to conceal their crime committed against children in gross violation of the Delta State Child Right Law 2008 and the Child Right Act 2003.
    “Officials of the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs are using state machinery to commit crimes against children and humanity and this has been going on for over 11years now. 
    “These Officials and their commissioner violate laws meant for children with impunity for selfish aims thereby generating money from crimes committed against children.
    “Thousands of children had been wiped out.Some taken out of the shores of Nigeria for all kind of exploitations while many others had disappeared from existence.”
    Aghogho recalled that there was an official letter issued under the directive of the Delta Women Commissioner, Rev.(Mrs.) Omatsola Williams dated 12/5/18 with reference number SWD/C.W8/845 for the trafficking of a child (name withheld) to certain persons described as Mr and Mrs “XY” pending adoption order. 
    According to him,” The Vanguard Online newspaper of 18/8/18 also reported the information where Delta Women Commissioner, Rev. (Mrs.)Omatsola Williams disclosed that a total of 693 Adoption applications were received by her Ministry out of which 136 children were released from different approved orphanages to prospective parents by her amongst other undisputed evidence before DSS.
    “The Delta State Child Right Law 2008  provides at Section 119 (1): An application for adoption shall be made to the Court in such form as may be prescribed and shall be accompanied with (a) Where the Applicant is a married couple, their marriage certificate or a sworn declaration of marriage (b) the birth certificate or sworn declaration of age of each applicant (c) two passport photograph of each applicant (d) a medical certificate of the fitness of the applicant from a Government hospital and (e) Such other documents, requirement and information as the court may require for the purposes of adoption.
    “At Section 119(2) the law also provides: On receipt of an application under subsection (1) of the section, the court shall order an investigation to be conducted by(a)a child development officer(b)a supervision officer, and (c) such other person as the court may determine, to enable the court to assess the suitability of the applicant as an adopter and of the child to be adopted.
    “At Section 132 (1) the law further provides : a child may be adopted notwithstanding that a corrective order is in force in respect of the child, also at Section 132 (2): On application for an adoption order being made in a case under subsection (1)of this section and on being satisfied that the adoption would be for the welfare and best interest of the child concern , the court shall suspend the corrective order so as to enable the applicant have the child in his for a period of at least three consecutive months immediately preceding the date of the adoption order.
    Aghogho explained that the law further divulged the definition of “Approved accommodation in its preliminary Part 1 to include a community home, a voluntary home, registered children’s home, an educational institution which a child is committed by an order of court or any other form of accommodation which a state government may provide for children within its boundaries.”
    “This is a multimillionaire criminal cartel made up of Judicial Officers including Judges, Magistrates, Court staff, Civil servants and the Commissioner of Women Affairs who is the ring leader. 
    “This is worse than the kidnap of chibok girls in the north eastern part of Nigeria, comrade Aghogho lament.”
    “DSS is now overwhelmed with the evidence before them and as such they must do the needful, they hold the victims who are predominantly children just one service and that service is justice.
    Aghogho stated that the Trafficking-in-person (Prohibition, Administration) Act 2015 at section 13(1) states: all acts of human trafficking are prohibited in Nigeria. 
    In his words,”Any person who recruits, transports, transfers, harbors or receives another person by means of- (1) threat or use of force or other forms of coercion, abduction, fraud, deception, abuse of powers or position of vulnerability exploitation of that person commits an offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment for a term of not less than 2 years and a fine of not less than N250, 000.00.
    “We are urging DSS now to seal off all orphanages in the state, take all children therein into emergency protection as the lives of children in orphanages are very much in danger during this ongoing investigation and confiscate all adoption forms meant for sale or sold under the directives of the Delta Women Commissioner, Rev. Mrs Omatsola Williams.
    He stressed that,”Every year 300,000 children are taken all around the world and sold by human traffickers as slaves and that 17,000 of those children are brought to the United States.
    The Trafficking of children has been internationally recognized as a serious crime that exists in every region of the world and which often has Human Rights implication.
    The main international documents dealing with the trafficking of children are the 1989 U.N. convention on the Rights of the Child, the 1999 I.L.O which Nigeria is a signatory

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