By Job Osazuwa
Members of Association of Orphanages and Homes Operators in Nigeria (ASOHON) have raised the alarm that armed robbers were invading their facilities to whisk away innocent babies.
President of the association, Mr. Gabriel Oyediji, at a briefing yesterday in Lagos, decried the general level of insecurity in the country, saying the stealing of babies was creating emotional trauma for children under their care. He said robbers and kidnappers raid their facilities due to the failure of government to provide well-fortified structures for the safety of the children.
“For instance, two babies were stolen at gunpoint from Jehovah Jireh Orphanage in Imo State in 2019, and they are yet to be seen. In 2020, another orphanage was robbed in Ibadan, Oyo State. When the robbers couldn’t get the age grade of the children they wanted, they went on rampage, destroying things in the centre. This year, Rachael Home and Orphanage in Abuja, was raided at gunpoint at midnight, and seven children were kidnapped,” he said.
He called on the government to urgently come up with a rescue plan to deal with the ugly trend, especially as orphanages lacked the funds to engage professional security or acquire CCTVs to protect the children.
Oyediji said people wishing to adopt children from orphanages get frustrated due to the government’s bottlenecks and legal hurdles, hence, the resort to illegal means to beat the cumbersome and frustrating adoption procedures.
Oyediji said that the spate of kidnapping in schools and other places was a huge threat to the survival of children in Nigeria.
Apart from baby theft challenge, he also decried health, food, funding, educational, accommodation and emotional insecurity threatening the future of orphans in the country.
He charged governments at all levels to quickly do something about the growing rate of infertility among Nigerians. He suggested that the government provides more affordable fertility clinics and counselling centres, including unwanted pregnancy/baby centres in all the geopolitical zones.