The Federal Capital Territory (FCT) Social Development Secretariat (SDS) on Thursday evacuated 19 children from Famouskids Orphanage Home, in Tungan Maje area of Zuba, Gwagwalada Area Council, Abuja over alleged negligence and other nefarious acts.
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.
Famouskids orphanage home had 25 children as inmates but only 19 ages 4-17 years were around during the evaluation exercise.
Speaking with newsmen 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 hitherto orphanage home.
Umar added following information from the police 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 most of the children were brought to Abuja from Cross Rivers and Akwa Ibom states.
They were reportedly 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 orphanages, from our investigations 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 here 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 that the child might have been sold and she is in Lagos, which they are now trying to track,” she explained.
She further lamented: “It is bothering us that the orphanages in FCT are abusing the law, they are only supposed to keep the children only for three month and then give them out either for adoption or fostering.”
On his part, one Edet Rapheal, who claimed to be working with the orphanage as a volunteer, denied knowledge of the missing child from the Home.
He said: “I don’t know anything about the missing child, the first time I heard I was arrested and taken to the police station and they questioned me about the child.
“I told them (the police) I don’t know anything about the missing child. I remember the first girl but I have never met the missing girl.”