The attention of Delta State Police Command has been drawn to several online publications including Sahara reporters credited to one Ighorhiohwunu Aghogho, a self-acclaimed human rights activist and State Coordinator Take it back (TIB), Delta State Chapter.
2. In the said publication, he alleged that Police Officers of the Command, after rescuing victims of child trafficking, hand over the rescued children to the Ministry of Women Affairs as a way of aiding the Commissioner of Police Delta State Command, in trafficking the rescued children. One question which remained unanswered by the said Aghogho is, how handing over found children to the Government Ministry empowered by the constitution of Nigeria to take custody of such children translates to child trafficking?
3. For the avoidance of doubt and for the purpose of clarification, the Command wishes to emphasize that it is solely the responsibility of either the State or federal government to cater for a found child and provide requisite facilities or ensure that the facilities are provided by approved adoption services as may be prescribed by the appropriate authority when, and if the need arises. Section 125 of the CHILD’S RIGHT ACT of Nigeria states that;
(i) Every State Government shall, for the purpose of adoption, establish and maintain within the State and, in the case of the Federal Government, within the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja a service designed to meet the needs of;
(a) a child who has been or may be adopted;
(b) parents and guardians of the child specified in paragraph (a) of this subsection; and
(c) persons who have adopted or who may adopt a child, and for this purpose, every Government shall provide requisite facilities or ensure that the facilities are provided by approved adoption services as may be prescribed by the appropriate authority.
(ii) The facilities to be provided as part of the services maintained under subsection (1) of this section include‐
(a) temporary board and lodging where needed by a child and, in exceptional circumstances the mother of a child;
(b) arrangements for assessing a child and prospective adopters and placing of the child for adoption; and
(c) counselling for persons with problems relating to adoption. Section 174-178 of the Child Right Act deals extensively with the processes of adoption which extend to the custody of found children.
4. Succinctly, it is noteworthy, as it is crystal clear, that the Command has done no wrong by handing over any child found in the State to the State ministry under which purview such responsibility falls. If the self-acclaimed activist is not comfortable with the law as it is stated in the Child’s Right Act of Nigeria, he can and is advised to seek redress in the court of law.
5. Undoubtedly, the effort of the said Aghogho is aimed at blackmailing the Command into abandoning the numerous criminal cases against him with a view to escaping justice. However, the Command will not fold its hands, watch a misinformed, ill-intended and disgruntled individual rubbish its good work, drag the Command to the mud or make comments that are capable of bringing the name of the Commissioner of Police into disrepute.
The Command will therefore take every necessary step to ensure that he is brought to justice sooner than later.
DSP. BRIGHT EDAFE,
POLICE PUBLIC RELATIONS OFFICER,
DELTA STATE COMMAND,