Baba said in an interview on Thursday in Kaduna that the government discovered that some of the orphanage homes were conduits for trafficking and abuse of children. She said that the ban would remain in force until the government sanitises the system of adoption and fostering of children in the state.
She said: “when we came on board, we found out that people just turn their houses into orphanages and get these children, but won’t give them out for fostering or adoption. Rather, they use them as a business to get donations and that is what they capitalise on to feed their own children. We have also found out that children were being sold, so we felt that this is a very serious issue that needs our intervention. We wrote to the governor seeking approval to stop fostering and adoption because we don’t know where the children are been taken to. Some are being sold or trafficked, some are exposed to serious dangers; we even learnt that some of their organs are being sold. So, for now we have stopped fostering and adoption. We will seek justice for those children and some of those issues are already before the courts”.
The commissioner disclosed that in one of the cases, the ministry was dragged to court by a Ghanaian after it retrieved three children from him. There is one Ghanaian man accused of buying three children in Zaria, we have collected these children from him but he took us to court and we are in court now.
The man is accused of buying the baby boy for N400, 000 and the baby girls for N350, 000. The commissioner explained that the ministry had drafted a regulatory framework to guide the operations of orphanages and as soon as it is ratified, the ban would be lifted.
Baba said the ministry had undertaken the mapping of all orphanages in the state in conjunction with relevant government agencies.
“As of now, we have the total number of orphanages in the state and their maps for easy tracking.’’ On other activities, Baba said the ministry was battling with high number of teenage pregnancies and those who either sell off their babies or kill them after delivery. “We requested for shelter where we keep children on emergency or women that are bartered so as to undergo psycho-social and trauma counselling.’’
According to her, the government will open a trauma centre in 2018 to offer 24-hour service to women and children. “We will have volunteer nurses and doctors, and also work with security agencies at the trauma centre.’’