BY MONSURU OLOWOOPEJO
LAGOS — THE Lagos State government has shut an illegal orphanage at Alagbado in Agbado‑Okeodo Local Council Development Area, LCDA and rescued five children from the home.
Vanguard gathered that the orphanage, Stream of Mercy and Love for Humanity Centre, located at Ilapo village, Alagbado was never registered with the state government before it commenced operation about two years ago.
Sources said that officials of the Office of Youth and Social Development, OYSD, stormed the area last Thursday, arresting the caregiver found in the orphanage and shut the premises.
Vanguard learnt that the officials rescued five children who were between the ages of one and eight years. Also, Mrs. Glory Ebenezer, the owner of the orphanage was said to be away at the time of closure.
Vanguard learnt that the caregiver was later released after the husband to the owner of the orphanage showed up at the office of the state Task Force on Environmental and Special Offences (Enforcement) Unit, Secretariat, Alausa, Ikeja.
The owner’s husband, who was formally detained, was later released on bail as the offence is said to be bailable.
The orphanage, our correspondent gathered, had approached the state government for registration on December 23, 2013, but was turned down since it did not allegedly meet the requirement for registration.
A state government officials alleged that the orphanage had been operating three years before it sought for registration, an act the government declared illegal as one could not operate an orphanage without being registered.
Special Adviser to the state Governor on Youth and Social Development, Dr. Dolapo Badru, said the state government had carried out surveillance on the orphanage and discovered that it was not registered and operating illegally, saying this was what informed the closure.
Badru said: “We got there and rescued the children and locked up the place and we are going to prosecute them. We want to know how they came about the children and their history. It is illegal to keep children when they are not yours without informing the government.”
He said that this was not the first time the government would be prosecuting people with illegal orphanage and that government would not relent in getting rid of illegal orphanages in Lagos State.
According to him, “some of them think that because they are registered with the Corporate Affairs Commission, they don’t need to register with us when they operate orphanage homes. Some of them even say they have a calling from God to operate orphanages. They should desist from such act when not registered.
“If they have calling from God to operate an orphanage, they should come to the government and we will give them the requirement to operate. There must be regulation in this sense as intended operators must have the infrastructure in place. It is like when you want to operate a school, you must register.”
The Special Adviser noted that it was not impossible that some illegal orphanages sell babies as they were not being monitored by government, but noted that those fully accredited to operate were credible and did not engage in sharp practices.
Badru said the children rescued had been kept in government’s custody while the owner of the orphanage would be arraigned in court soon.