BY ABDULWAHAB ABDULAH
LAGOS — Eighteen years after it was established, an illegal orphanage home in the heart of Egbeda in Alimosho Local Government Area of Lagos State, was shut down by Lagos State government officials who also rescued 25 children from the facility.
The Office of the Public Defender, OPD, an arm of the state Ministry of Justice, which carried out the rescue mission from the purported ‘Home for Orphans and Less Privileged’ said apart from keeping the children illegally, the venue was also used for child trafficking.
A statement from the OPD said the children whose ages range between three months and 12 years were found in the illegal home located at 30/32, Abiodun Adebanbo Street, Egbeda, Lagos allegedly run by one Mrs. Rosemary Nwachukwu.
The OPD disclosed that a combined team of Director of Child Development in the state Ministry of Youths and Social Development, Mrs. Alaba Fadairo and officers from OPD clamped down on the home based on information, from which the alleged illegal activities of the home and the deteriorating condition to which the children were subjected to were exposed.
The rescued children who had since been taken to the Lagos State Government welfare institution for proper care and protection are made up of three infants who are aged between 3 and 6 months and 22 others.
Whereabouts of two children unknown
OPD said: “Upon investigations, it was discovered that Mrs. Nwachukwu trafficked 27 children kept in a room, using them to raise money and defraud innocent members of the public who may need assistance in child adoption. Twenty five children were rescued and the whereabouts of the remaining two children remain unknown.
“Investigation also shows that there were no record on each of the children and no evidence of how the children got to her and no form of police or security report.”
Asking Lagos residents to help the government in curbing such activities in the state, Mrs Fadairo, the leader of the operation, however, warned members of the public to be vigilant and report such cases to the media or government in order not to fall into the hands of similar organisations.
She said people/organisations that operate unapproved or illegal orphanages would be arrested and prosecuted.
The suspect, Mrs. Nwachukwu, in an interview told the officials that she had been running the home for the past 18 years purely on charity but residents and landlord association in the community said they were not aware that such home existed, adding that the children might have been brought by the woman under the cover of darkness.