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Thursday, 6 October 2016
Delta State Government Officials accused of child trafficking
A child rights activist, Mr. Ighorhiohwumu Aghogho, has accused some officials of the Delta State Government of involvement in child trafficking and breaching the process for adopting orphans as contained in the state child rights law.
Aghogho, who is also a proprietor of Explosive Academy, a special school for the correction of children beyond parental control, located in Abraka, stated this at a briefing held in Warri on Wednesday.
The activist said officials of the state government had grossly abused the process for adoption of children from registered orphanages in the state, noting that the situation had helped child traffickers to easily take up orphans without proper records. He stressed that all efforts to make the officials to correct the anomaly had not yielded any positive result, adding that the state adoption register containing the daily list of orphans was missing.
The activist, who said he had gone to all agencies concerned about child abuse and trafficking in the state, including the State House of Assembly, without any positive results, gave a 15-day ultimatum to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking-in-persons to produce the adoption register.
Alleging that about 27 orphanages were unlawfully operating in the state, Aghogho said, “We are giving NAPTIP a 15-day ultimatum, after which we will apply to court for an order of mandamus to compel it to search for and produce the adoption register of Delta State and to stop the Delta State Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development from further engaging in child trafficking.”
When contacted, the state Commissioner for Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mr. Omotsola Williams, declined to speak on the issue.
He, however, directed our correspondent to the commissioner for information or the public relation officer of the ministry.
The Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, who was contacted on his mobile phone, requested that our correspondent send him a text message so as to react to the allegations.
But he had not responded to the message as of 8pm production time on Wednesday.
When contacted on his mobile phone, the Director of Child Development, Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development, Mr. Fred Ogheni, dismissed the allegations, claiming that the government adhered strictly to relevant laws guiding adoption of suspected orphans in the state.
Director of Peoples Right Department, Ministry of Justice, Asaba, Mrs. Omuan Omatsone, said the allegations were far from the truth.
She added, “Who is the person that gave you the information? That is not true. We are even investigating a case from the Ministry of Women Affairs from the said person. We will soon finish with our investigation.”