By Uche Onwuchekwa (Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media)
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In a bid to nip in the bud the anomalies in child adoption and related cases of child trafficking, Imo State government this yesterday inaugurated Committee on Modification of Child Adoption Procedure.

Inaugurating the ten man committee members on behalf of Imo State Governor in his office in Government House, Owerri, Deputy Governor of Imo state, Prince Eze Madumere averred that the objective of the committee is to ensure that there is absolute respect of dignity of human life and promotion of a responsible society.

In his address, Prince Madumere disclosed that setting up of the committee is as a result of petitions and complaints about staggering irregularities observed by the public in the process of Child adoption to the State. He said that the complaints were even more worrisome following the global trend of child trafficking and other related problems associated with human trafficking and slavery.

The number two citizen of Imo State however recalled the first response of the government in the face of the real threat to the dignity of human beings led to the temporary suspension of child adoption in the State. He said the action was to ensure the security and safety of the children who were involved in the transaction and to ensure that unscrupulous elements involved in the threat are checked, apprehended and run out of the State.

Continuing, he stressed that Rescue Mission Administration led by Owelle Rochas Okorocha is a comprehensive programme that is not only limited to building infrastructure but with the first charge as a government to provide security of life and property and then ensure restoration of societal values.

He expressed gratitude to Imo State Governor for quickly and graciously approving the request by the Ministry of Health, Social Development and Women Affairs to set up the committee to critically look at the whole idea of adoption and ensure that its success is beneficial to the society at large.

He also recalled with regrets the unfortunate stories of make-shift homes when unlicensed medical personnel assembled young girls and encouraged them to get pregnant for a prize and bear children who would be eventually sold in the name of adoption.

He further stated that the charge of the committee is to forestall all the irresponsible fall-outs and ensure that couples who are genuinely in need of children to adopt are identified, properly screened and served. He emphasized that strict attention must be paid to the welfare of the child and his future.

He therefore urged the Committee to pay strict attention to the terms of reference which bordered on; ascertaining the root cause of the widespread anomalies associated with adoption and proffer solutions; reviewing of the subsisting applications and determine their genuineness or otherwise; make recommendations on the best methods to ensure that adoption laws are not violated; to make recommendations on ways to strengthen existing legal framework on adoption in Imo State among other recommendations.

While congratulating them, Prince Madumere told the committee to be free to co-opt other persons might be necessary to assist them as they discharge their duties while stressing that their responsibilities are God proven purpose and like all assignments that glorify His name will be divinely rewarded.

Meanwhile, members of the Committee are as following; Bishop Stanford Nwogu, CAN President, Chairman, Mrs Ngozi Njoku, Commissioner for Health, Social Development and Women Affairs is the Secretary, Chairman of Red Cross, Imo State represented by Prince Keke Chima, Taiwo Frederick Lakanu is a member, Commission of Police, Imo State, Commandant of Nigeria Security and Civil Defense Corps, Imo Stat, Attorney General of Imo State , Udechukwu Chukwu of NAPTIP, Chief Orikeze Ajumbe, Commissioner for Internal Resources, the Chairman of Nigeria Bar Association, Owerri Branch and Comrade Obinna Aharanwa, Principal Secretary to the Deputy Governor of Imo State, Mrs. Adaugo are members.

Responding, the Chairman of the Committee, Bishop Stanford Nwogu accepted the appointment on behalf of his members. He said they appreciate Governor Okorocha and his deputy, Prince Eze Madumere for finding them worthy to serve the State especially to deliver on such a sensitive responsibility. He commended the State Government for being responsive and rising to the challenge to curb the anomalies in the procedures of adoption, which he said would have ruined the State.

He said he was particularly happy with the caliber of men and women in the Committee who are of unimpeachable character. He therefore pledged the resolution of the Committee to deliver to the expectation and happiness of Imo people and beyond.

Uche Onwuchekwa
Special Assistant to the Deputy Governor on Media