Orphanage scandal: Proprietress’ lawyers indict govt

Date: 2005-03-11
Source: aiainc.org

Olalekan Adetayo
The Punch

Lawyers to the proprietress of Good Shepherd orphanage, Lagos, Mrs. Gift John, have attributed any perceived irregularities in the operations of the home to negligence by the state government.

A statement from Festus Keyamo Chambers on Thursday said having had an audience with the detained proprietress on Tuesday, facts emerged that the government was to be blamed for the sordid state of affairs at the orphanage.

The statement by Declan Kemdirim read, “That if there were irregularities in the adoption procedures and the ministry did not monitor the use of the licence given to her (John) then it is purely the fault and negligence of the ministry.”

The lawyers argued that if the government had had in place a proper welfare programme for abandoned babies and children, motherless babies and children as well as orphans, private initiatives would not be called to question.

Kemdirim, however, described the allegation of burnt babies found in the premises of the home as “wild, unsubstantiated and laughable”; arguing that nothing like that was seen within the premises.

“They stumbled upon a public garbage dump far away from her premises where they saw some things like, perhaps, animal bones, and the people, in the frenzy of the moment concluded that they must be bones of dead babies from her orphanage,” the statement added.

The chambers therefore called on the appropriate authorities to charge the suspect to a court of competent jurisdiction or be released unconditionally.

They also demanded the immediate release of members of her family and staff or charge them to court if investigation found them culpable in any manner.

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