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Check the ugly trade in children

THE ugly trade in children which once darkened the nation’s landscape is slowly making a comeback in the country. Evidence of the resurgence of the heinous business has popped up in some parts of the country, including Delta State, where the police authorities recently reported the closure of many illegal and fake orphanages and charity homes in 25 local government areas.   Also, earlier this week, a three-woman child theft and trafficking syndicate was among the suspects paraded by the police in Ogun State. There have also in the past been reported cases of child theft and sale in some states in the South-East and South-South of the country, and in Okota area of Lagos State.

The resurgence of child trade is embarrassing to say the least, and we call on our security agencies to do everything they can to ensure that the evil merchants are arrested and brought to justice. Some of the child traders register “orphanages” and “charity homes” with fake names, which they use to perpetrate their evil business. They use all kinds of tricks to get people to sell children to them. They also sometimes go into the outright stealing of children. In this case, these child traffickers go out of their immediate domains to steal children from unsuspecting mothers, and take them to their “orphanages”, or even fake hospitals, for adoption or whatever other purposes of their patrons. 

In the current Delta case, 21 babies were rescued and three other children allegedly sold for N1.3 million. So, clearly, the first motive for these evil merchants is pecuniary. They want to make illicit money. To sustain themselves in business, they often form a syndicate which includes elements from their immediate communities and the security agencies. These ones are put on their payroll and reports are only made when things go awry. This is bad for our society and all efforts must be made by patriotic individuals and the security agencies to stamp out these nefarious activities.

Another motive for child theft and trafficking is the increasing number of couples who are childless and want to have children. Some of them find the process of adoption too rigorous, time wasting and expensive, and would instinctively turn to fake charity homes for help. That intending child adopters cannot persevere and go through the laid down procedures for child adoption is tragic. Bringing a new child into a family and assuming responsibility for its upbringing cannot be an easy business. There are so many levels of checks and preparations that should be carried out before would-be adopters are certified. There can be no shortcut to the rules, to ensure the safety of these children. Genuine intending adopters should understand this and ensure compliance with the laid-down procedures. The procedures should not, however, be made unduly protracted, laborious and expensive for genuine, happily married but childless couples who want to adopt children.

The child and social welfare departments of the respective state ministries of youth and women affairs usually saddled with the responsibility of registering and monitoring charities must now increase their surveillance and enforcement activities. Even more stringent conditions should be set and met before new orphanages and homes are approved. The existing ones should be thoroughly evaluated and reviewed from time to time to ensure that they meet with the stringent conditions of their operations. The lives of children are too precious to be toyed with. Government and the society at large have a responsibility to save them from predators. We also enjoin all Nigerians not to renege on their responsibility to secure the children who are the future of our country. 

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This post was syndicated from The Sun News. Click here to read the full text on the original website.

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