BY CHIDI NKWOPARA
OWERRI—Apparently worried by activities of owners of ‘baby homes or factories,’ in the society, the Imo State Government yesterday revoked the certificates of all motherless babies and foster homes in the state.
Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Nma Onyechere, who announced this yesterday in Owerri, said that buying and selling of human beings were not part of Igbo culture, adding that the heat generated over the issue was enough to get government react to the ugly situation.
Onyechere also warned that any staff of the ministry found to have established such homes would be summarily dismissed from service.
According to her, although the issue of ‘baby factories’ or sale of babies was not only an Imo State affair, it had sadly turned into a national problem that must be tackled urgently.
She said: “Government has revoked the certificates of all foster homes in the state with immediate effect. Similarly, any staff found to be operating any such establishment or in the habit of aiding or abetting ‘baby factories’, would be summarily dismissed from service.
“As at the last count, only 36 homes were registered in the state. Our interest in the re-certification exercise is to save lives and preserve the corporate image of the state.”
According to the commissioner, the issue of ‘baby factories’ had done serious damage to the image of the state, hence the government decided to tackle it frontally.
“In line with the current revocation of the certificates, government has planned fresh re-registration and re-certification of all such homes. Anybody or group of persons found to have defied this policy will be arrested and prosecuted,” the commissioner said.
Answering a question, Mrs. Onyechere said the re-certification had nothing to do with the current commercialisation policy of the state government, as the new fees to be charged would be affordable.