Fred Itua, Abuja
New facts have emerged about the operation and underhand dealings of some orphanages in connivance with parents in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
At a one-day stakeholders’ conference on orphanages in the territory, some parents revealed that the economic hardship in the country has forced them to donate their kids to orphanages.
They said their donated children, are in turn, used as domestic workers by families in need of help, who in turn, pay them for their services.
One of the parents, who identified himself as Joseph, said he gave out three of his children to an orphanage in Kubwa, but complained that they were not properly fed.
He said the wife left him few years after their marriage and decided to take the children to an orphanage as a result of the economic hardship.
Other parents, who spoke pleaded not to be named, for fear of being victimised.
Meanwhile, the FCT Administration has revealed that over 20 orphanages in Abuja were currently operating without proper registration.
To this end, it said it has concluded arrangements to validate all orphanages in Abuja that are yet to be registered.
The Permanent Secretary of FCT, Chinyeaka Ohaa, said the administration is committed to ensuring that such children are protected and are not exposed to physical, emotion or mental abuse.
He said: “We believe that all children should have equitable access to and benefit from comprehensive social protection services.
“They are also to unequivocally have access to quality basic education, adequate standard of living, remain healthy and well nourished. They must have legal identity and the right to participate fully in all issues that concern them. “It is our intention to implement the above and protect all children within the territory from any harm to which they maybe exposed to which could be physical, emotional or mental.”
He warned that no group, organisation or individual should take lightly the establishment and management of orphanages in FCT.
“I urge you, therefore, to always consult the gender department secretariat which handles all matters concerning the establishment and management of orphanages in the FCT for consultation and proper guidance,” he added.
Acting Secretary of Social Development Secretariat, Safiya Umar, regretted that most orphanages have been personalised, saying they do not put into consideration what the Child Right Acts states about establishment of orphanages.