Rev. Deborah Ogo, the founder of Arrows of God Community Children’s home in Nkwelle Ezunaka, near Onitsha, has been transferred to the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) by the Anambra state government on allegations of illegal adoption.
In August, the government shut down the facility due to the illegal adoption of 20 children, including a newborn. The operator, who had been on the run, was eventually apprehended, and the children were successfully rescued.
On Wednesday, October 4, Commissioner for Women and Social Welfare, Ify Obinabo, disclosed that the decision to hand over came in response to widespread reports that accused the ministry of being involved in an unlawful adoption of a baby girl, in conjunction with one of its registered homes in the state.
Obinabo lamented the negative reputation that the operator of the orphanage had brought upon the state, even though the government had been actively working to eradicate unethical adoption practices.
She delivered a strong message to operators of children’s homes, advising them against any form of wrongdoing that could damage the state’s image.
While interrogating the suspect about her involvement in the illegal adoption process despite prior warnings, she was unable to offer any reasonable justification. Instead, she asserted that her secretary had taken charge of the adoption process.
Additionally, she explained that she took two months to attend the commissioner’s invitation following the closure of the home, attributing the delay to her ill health.
The act of human trafficking is a serious transgression against human rights, and Rev. Deborah Ogo could face a lengthy period of incarceration if she is found guilty of the current charges.