Lagos secures custody of seven orphanage children

Date: 2006-12-28

Lekan Sanni

The Lagos State Government has secured the custody of seven of the 35 people rescued from the Good Shepherd Orphanage, Okota, Lagos, in February last year.

The orphanage was shut by the state government on February 23, 2005 on the allegation that the proprietress was involved in human trafficking.

After the closure, a total of 18children, six pregnant teenagers, and 11 others were rescued and taken to the state's transit homes, while the proprietress, Gift John, her husband anther daughter were arrested for prosecution.

But the proprietress sued the state government at the Igbosere Magistrate Court, Lagos, seeking the release of the seven people - four children adopted from Abia State, two houseboys and granddaughter - claiming that they are her children. Represented by her lawyer, Mr. D. C.Nkemdiru from the Keyamo Chambers, John urged the court to grant her the custody of the children.

However, the state government, represented by Mrs. Margaret Asumah of the Directorate of Public Prosecution (DPP),Ministry of Justice, opposed the application.

In its ruling, the court struck out the application because it lacked "compelling ground upon which the children can be released to the applicant".

According to the court, since the children are not the natural children of John, there is no change in their circumstances as to warrant their release at this stage.

The state government has since sent the pregnant teenagers, who were sheltered at the Girls Approved School,Idi-Araba, to their respective home states through their liaison offices. The trial of the substantive case would begin on May 10, 2006.


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