…seals facility, rescues 24 children, including a pregnant teenager
By Olasunkanmi Akoni
Lagos State Government has shut an illegal orphanage home in Badagry area of the state, after rescuing at least 24 children from the home.
Among those rescued by the State Government enforcement unit were between the ages of four-month and a 17 years, including a pregnant girl.
Out of the 24 rescued, 20 people have been transferred to government rehabilitation homes across the state, while three physically challenged persons with ailments are in the hospital, while one, who was seriously ill has been admitted in a public hospital.
The illegal orphanage home, Pro Labore Der (labour for God), located in Gbetewo village, Olorunda Local Council Development Area of Badagary, was said to have been discovered by residents who alerted the state government.
It was gathered that on arrival of the enforcement officers, who swung into action after the tip-off, operator of the home absconded, to prevent arrest.
Briefing pressmen after the rescue exercise, on Monday, Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, Mr. Agboola Dabiri, warned that the State would not backtrack from its stance to end operation of illegal orphanage homes in the state.
While stressing that every child in the state has his right to protection, Dabiri expressed grievances at uncertainty surrounding general well-being of children in illegal homes.
The commissioner noted that unregistered homes had been given an ultimatum to register under government, as failure to comply means automatic closure and attract charging operators to court.
He said: “For no reason should children be deprived of their rights. adequate care, feeding, shelter, clothing and health care is their right. We are not against adoption, but patronage of illegal orphanage is a crime.”
While debunking claims that religious houses are eligible to register homes, Dabiri stated that they could only own it but can not issue licenses.
“Only the Ministry has the mandate of regulating and authorizing operation of homes. No rest for illegal homes, nobody should hide behind religious organizations,” he said.
The commissioner, therefore, urged landlords in the state not to accommodate anyone seeking shelter to the houses, but must be aware of activities of their tenants to avoid harbouring criminals.
Commending the traditional chief of Gbetewo, Gabriel Mehoto, who was instrumental in the rescue, Dabiri called on members of the public to support government in its course to achieve a better and safer society.