Anambra State Government on Wednesday sealed an orphanage, “Arrow of God Community Children’s Home”, at Nkwelle Ezunaka in Oyi Local Government Area.
The State’s Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Mrs Ify Obinabo, while speaking to reporters after sealing the facility, said the licence of its owner had also been withdrawn indefinitely.
Obinabo said the action followed a news report accusing the ministry of involvement in illegal adoption of a baby girl in connivance with one of the registered homes in the state.
She added that the founder of the orphanage home, Rev. Deborah Ogo, presently at large, had ignored her invitation to explain.
According to her, the founder’s refusal to honour the invitation of the ministry contributed to sealing the facility in collaboration with security operatives.
The commissioner said a total of 20 children, comprising of 10 boys, nine girls and a new born were rescued from the facility and were currently in the ministry’s custody.
She said appropriate steps were been taken to trace and reunite the children with their respective families.
Obinabo said the ministry was neither aware of any adoption with the orphanage home, nor did the adoption process passed through the ministry.
She identified major irregularities that characterised the adoption process such as absence of three signatures which must be hers, Head of Child Unit and Permanent Secretary of the ministry.
Obinabo also said the court that was used for the adoption process was not certified by the ministry.
“Part of our mandate is to fight illegal adoption and we have put up measures to address that, including rules and regulations guiding operations of orphanages in the state.
“We have designated courts and the homes are aware of these courts because they are not supposed to use any other courts, so that we can be in control of all adoptions.
“But Arrow of God went against the instructions. I found out that the founder carried out the adoption through one court in Nnewi to back up her nefarious acts.
“As soon as we saw the video, we rushed to the facility with police but discovered that the owners had disappeared, abandoning the entire children.
“We immediately sealed the facility and withdrew their licence, while we brought the entire kids to the ministry to ensure their safety and upkeep”, she said.
Obinabo warned other orphanage operators involved in illegal adoption to desist from such nefarious acts.
She also urged intending adoptive parents to be wary of those parading themselves as the ministry’s consultants in facilitating adoption processes.
“The ministry has not engaged the services of any consultant. Always report any suspicious activity found in any orphanage to us for appropriate actions”, she urged.
NEDC Distributes Palliatives To People With Disabilities In Borno
The North East Development Commission (NEDC) has commenced distribution of palliatives to people living with disability in Borno State.
During the exercise on Saturday in Maiduguri Metropolitan Council, the Managing Director of the Commission, Mr Mohammed Alkali, said the gesture was in line with the commission’s mandate.
Alkali, who was represented by the NEDC Coordinator for Borno, Mr Mohammed Umaru, said the exercise started with the people with disability in Maiduguri metropolitant and would be extended to their members in the 26 LGAs of the state.
“What we are doing here today will also be done in remaining 26 LGAs of Borno.
“It has also commenced or has been done in other north east states as part of measures to ensure that everyone is given a sense of belonging in line with the NEDC mandate”, he said.
Responding, the Chairman of people living with disability in Borno, Mallam Mohammed Abubakar, thanked the commission for the gesture and assured of the leadership’s commitment to ensure fairness in sharing the 50 bags of rice and 50 cartons of spaghetti to its members in the metropolis.
Abubakar urged other organisations to emulate the gesture by the commission in reaching out to vulnerable groups in their support to victims of insurgency at this critical period.
Tribunal Upholds Gov Alia’s Election
The Benue State Governorship Election Petition Tribunal in Makurdi on Saturday upheld the victory of Governor Hyacinth Alia of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the March 18 Governorship Election.
Delivering the judgment, the Chairman of the panel, Justice Ibrahim Karaye, held that the tribunal lacked jurisdiction to entertain pre election issues raised by the petitioners, Titus Uba and PDP.
Karaye, who read the unanimous judgment, stated that only the Federal High Court had the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain issues bordering on pre-election matters.
He further said the petitioners’ case was also an abuse of court processes because the same case was filed by the petitioners before the Federal High Court Abuja Division and its judgment was not challenged by the petitioners.
He said the petitioners lacked locus standi to challenge the nomination of the 2nd and 3rd respondents by the 4th respondent since they were not members of the 4th respondent.
Justice Karaye further said that the petitioners failed to prove their allegations of forgery against the 3rd respondent before the tribunal.
He said the 2nd and 3rd respondents were qualified to contest the March 18 Governorship Election and therefore, dismissed the case.
The petitioners, Titus Uba and the PDP, had dragged the respondents, INEC, Hyacinth Alia, Dr Sam Ode, and the APC before the tribunal, challenging their declaration by the INEC.
The petitioners argued that the 2nd and 3rd respondents, Gov Alia and Dr Ode, were at the time of contesting the election, not qualified to contest the March 18 Governorship Election.
They averred that the 4th respondent – the APC – did not follow the provisions of the law in the nomination of the governorship and deputy governorship candidates.
They also alleged that the 3rd respondent had presented a forged certificate to the 1st respondent, INEC, therefore, should be disqualified.
They therefore, prayed among other things, for the nullification of their election and declare the petitioners as winners of the election, having scored second highest lawful votes.
They also contended that having not qualified to contest the election, their votes should be declared invalid and certificates earlier issued to them by INEC be withdrawn.
The Tide’s source reports that the petitioners in the suit did not challenge the result of the March 18 Benue Governorship Election but qualifications of the candidates.
However, the respondents in their counter arguments, urged the tribunal to dismiss the suit in its entirety as it was an abuse of court processes.
The respondents stated that the Federal High Court Abuja Division, had before the election, delivered judgment on the same matter which was filed by the petitioners but they did not appeal the judgment till date.
They also said the issues raised were all pre election matter and only the Federal High Court had the exclusive jurisdiction to entertain same.
The 2nd and 3rd respondents clearly stated that since the prayers sought by the petitioners were all pre-election matters, the petitioners case was status bar and should be struck out.
They said the petitioners lacked locus standing to challenge the nomination of candidates of other political parties as they were mere meddlesome interlopers.
PDP Chieftain Makes Case For Culture, Tradition Maintenance
A Chieftain of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Osun State, Prince Dotun Babayemi, has called on traditional rulers and other relevant stakeholders not to allow culture and traditions to go into extinction.
Babayemi gave the advice in Osogbo on Saturday to commemorate the Olojo festival celebration slated to hold between Septwmber 29 and October 2 in Ile-Ife.
The Tide’s source reports that Olojo festival is an ancient festival aimed at celebrating the remembrance of “Ogun”, god of iron, who is believed to be the first son of Oduduwa, progenitor of the Yoruba people.
Babayemi said relevant stakeholders in Yoruba land should rise up to rescue the culture and traditions as well as the language of the race from going into extinction.
“We have to go back to the days of yore because our known valued ethos and mores are fast ebbing.
“Sadly, these are already taking tolls on our value system as reflected in the moral decadence pervading our society today.
“It is sad that gradually our culture is being submerged by modernity/ civilisation and this portends a great danger for the future of the culture and traditions of Yoruba race.
“Unless everyone rises up to rescue this avoidable cultural eclipse, the future of our culture and traditions will be in jeopardy”, he said.
Babayemi, who is also a former PDP governorship aspirant in the state, congratulated the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja ll, sons and daughters of Ile-Ife across the world on the celebration of the Olojo festival.
He said the constant celebration of the festival would not make the coming generations to lose touch with the history of the race, thereby rekindling cultural renaissance.
“I want to sincerely congratulate our highly revered traditional ruler of Ile-Ife, Ooni Enitan Ogunwusi Ojaja ll, and the good people of the ancient town home and abroad on the celebration of Olojo Festival.
“Sincerely speaking, unless we sustain the tempo of celebrating our culture in Yoruba land in the challenging face of modernity/civilisation, coming generations will lose touch with our history.
“Moreso, we are blessed with relics, artefacts and other cultural events worth celebrating”, he said.
The party stalwart urged custodians of Yoruba cultures and traditions to ensure cultural engagements that would continually ingrain the needed values in the subconscious of the younger generations.
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