The Delta State government has refuted recent media reports that some of its officials are involved in child trafficking, describing such insinuations as not only laughable but unimaginable.
The state Commissioner for Information, Mr. Patrick Ukah, in a statement released in Asaba yesterday, advised members of the public to see the allegation as spurious as the state government or any of its officials were not involved in such act.
He clarified that the state government adheres strictly to relevant laws guiding adoption of suspected orphans, adding that the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development usually kept records of adoption “and not adoption register as contained in the reports”. He said such document belonged to the court.
Mr. Ukah said that an abandoned child, in most cases, was not found by Social Welfare Officers but by good Samaritans who usually took such a child to the police station for documentation before handing the child over to Social Welfare Officers who in turn will take the child to an approved orphanage home.
Thereafter, according to the Commissioner for Information, “the Social Welfare Officers will begin to make enquiries to know if the parents or mother of the child can be traced and this will last for, at least, three months before the issue of adoption will come up.”
Mr. Ukah further stated that “the adoption process begins with temporary placement for at least three months to allow for proper bonding between the child and the adopter/s before a court will give an enrolment order and the adopter/s will get the original copy, while the ministry keeps a photo copy.”
On the illegal orphanage homes operating in the state as claimed by the petitioner, Mr. Ighorhiohwumu Aghogho, the Commissioner disclosed that a total of 27 approved orphanage homes, including that of the petitioner, Explosive Academy, operates in the state and were registered by the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development.
Mr. Ukah emphasized that “for Mr. Aghogho to address a press conference after petitioning the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Abuja, suing the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development to court, and inditing the ministry and all agencies of government, including the Delta State House of Assembly, is not only a misnomer but mischievous.”
He noted that the allegation by Mr. Aghogho was an act calculated to tarnish the image of the Ministry of Women Affairs, Community and Social Development and the entire state.