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Demolition of Abuja orphanage

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SOMETIMES when the attitudes of public sector workers to their responsibilities are put in perspective, one wonders whether they know the purpose of governance. Do they know that government and the laws exist for the betterment and uplift of the average citizen? Or do they think government exists only to lord it over the people?

On Tuesday, March 27, 2019 at exactly 3.00pm, the bulldozers of the Federal Capital Development Authority, FCDA, descended on the Divine Wounds of Jesus Christ Orphanage in Kubwa, Abuja, and brought it to the ground.

The Orphanage had reportedly sheltered 150 children, some of them only a few months old. In virtually the twinkle of an eye, the children were rendered homeless. Pictures and videos of these hapless kids, their foodstuff and belongings littering the outdoors, went viral on the social media.

Though the owners of the Orphanage claimed the demolition took place without warning, FCDA Director, Mr. Mukhtar Galadima, counterclaimed that the demolition was carried out because the owners had ignored many “Stop Work” notices.

It also emerged that the property was the subject of ongoing family squabbles and litigations between the widow of the late owner and his family members.

What concerns us more than any other thing is the apparent lack of empathy and human feeling on the part of the FCDA officials over the plight of the orphaned children whose woes were worsened immediately by being rendered homeless. This much was evident in the fact that the children and their belongings spent the night in the open before the viral videos brought FCDA officials hurrying back to meet with the orphanage operators and promising to accommodate the children temporarily for at least one year.

The correct procedure should have been for the FCDA to get the orphanage owners to move the children and their provisions to a secure place before proceeding with the demolition. That would show a government with a human face and a heart for the plight of these less-fortunate minors who have no family member willing or able to care for them.

If not for the power of the social media, who knows how long the children and their providers would have languished in great deprivation before any succour would come?

We call on the law-enforcement agencies and the relevant Federal Ministry in charge of social welfare to inquire into this incident and ascertain the veracity or otherwise of the claim that some of the children were not accounted for after the demolition.

We also condemn all acts of impunity by some misguided citizens who refuse to abide by the laws in setting up edifices, as well as government officials who engage in the callous demolition of people’s buildings.

We must all be law abiding.

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