Olawale Ajimotokan in Abuja
The 130 children of an orphanage that was demolished last week by the Department of Development Control of the Federal Capital Territory Administration (FCTA) have rejected the accommodation offered by the FCTA.
They rejected the offer yesterday at a meeting with FCT Minister, Bello Musa Mohammed.
The children from Divine Wounds of Jesus Christ, a rehabilitation home, arrived the minister’s office under a heavy police escort.
Their ground for rejecting the offer was that relocating to an entirely new home would jeopardise their happiness.
The orphanage’s head girl, Olajumoke Lawrence, who spoke on behalf of others, told Bello that they did not want to be separated from the place they had known as home for years.
She said they would prefer to bond in one place than to be separated into other homes at different locations.
THISDAY, however, gathered that the owner of the orphanage, Mrs. Victoria Nkiruka Ezemoka, whose bitter litigation with her brother-in-law, Godfrey Ezemoka, led to the demolition of the rehabilitation home, had arranged for an alternative home close to the demolished centre in Kubwa.
The temporary place is a 12-unit of two bedroom flats, which the children are said to be comfortable with.
The FCT Permanent Secretary, Christian Chinyeka Ohaa, who addressed journalists, after a brief meeting with the children and some officials of Social Development Secretariat (SDS), said the authority offered to take the children to an alternative home in Gwagwalada.
He disclosed that FCTA wanted to ensure that the children were secured, protected and provided with welfare.
He said the administration conceded to the children’s request to stay with their caregivers in order not to subject them to further psychological shock occasioned by the demolition of the centre.
He, however, insisted that although the FCTA had granted the children’s request, it would ensure that the necessary rules for administration of orphanage in the territory were not breached.
“They insisted they preferred to go back to where they were before. But we must also ensure that all the necessary by-laws and procedures regulating the operation of orphanage are adhered to. It is uppermost that their welfare is also taken care of. We offered to take them to our area in Gwagwalada but they rejected it and if they refused; they will not be obedient and if anything happens to them it will be taken against you,” Ohaa said.