Mr Hamza Aliyu, Executive Director, Initiative for Grassroot Advancement (INGRA), Kogi-based Civil Society Organisation, has called on government at all levels to establish safe homes for the upkeep of homeless and abandoned children.
Aliyu, who made the call in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Tuesday in Lokoja, said the dearth of such homes and facilities across the country had given rise to countless homeless children and miscreants in the streets.
“We don’t have enough referrals. We have a lot of children on the streets but nobody is referring them to the ministries for keep because the ministries do not have the facilities.
“Especially in Kogi State, we don’t have the facilities to keep children,” said Aliyu.
According to him, the few children that are brought to the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development are moved from the ministry straight to orphanages.
“And that shouldn’t be happening because orphanages are the last place to keep or raise a child. It’s not a good place for a child to be.
“We in the civil Society have always been clamouring that government should invest more in establishing safe homes where we can keep children in the meantime pending their adoption or retrieval.
“A child under the social welfare department should be staying in a home run by government and not by the private organisations or private individuals,” he said.
Aliyu hinted that at the state Ministry of Women Affairs, there was a wide gap between the number of applications for adoption of children and availability of children for adoption.
The gap, according to him, has created opportunity for sharp practices, making prospective couples to adopt children without going through due process of administrative and legal documentation.
He, therefore, advised couples who want to adopt children to go through the right processes at the ministries and the law courts saying, “It is very very important because we are talking of life here.
“Ensure that the morality and ethical guidelines around adopting a child are followed. We are not talking about going to purchase a car or electronics you. need to go through the right procedures.”
Aliyu implored ministry officials and those in charge of the processes to avoid exploiting people who apply for adoption, adding to their trauma.
“Childlessness is not something that any family would want. On both sides you have the trauma but we need to follow the due process and laid down procedures,” he said. (NAN)