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By Kunle Awosiyan
May13, 2011 / Nigerian Tribune
NO fewer than 200 Lagos children have been adopted by some European countries and members of the public in the state in the last one year, the Special Adviser to the state governor on Youth, Sport and Social Development, Mr Dolapo Badru has said.
He said this during the annual ministerial news conference to mark four years of Governor Babatunde Fashola’s administration on Thursday, adding that 174 orphans had their adoptions legalised through the Juvenile Court.
According to him, most of the children were adopted by foreign countries with Switzerland having the highest number of 25. The breakdown shows that 20 children were adopted by Italy; 41 by Netherlands;15 by Spain;25 by Denmark; eight by Belgium;16 by United States; eight by United Kingdom; two by Germany and five by Canada.
Badru also said that 161 babies were rescued and referred to various government homes and private orphanages in the last one year.
According to him, many applications had been received from prospective adopters, locally and internationally to determine their suitability for adopting children out of which 177 of it had been approved.
While urging members of the public to contribute their quota to government’s initiative of removing the underprivileged citizenry by making donations to registered orphanages, motherless babies homes, churches, mosques or other recognised social welfare institutions in the state, Badru explained that his office was currently working on new guidelines for adoption both locally and internationally.
He named countries such as Italy, Netherlands, Sweden, France, Spain, Belgium, Denmark, Switzerland, United States of America, United Kingdom, Germany and Canada where many applications had come to adopt children.
He said, “International adoption gives succour to children with medical challenges. We have to conduct screening for international adopters who wanted to adopt children from Lagos. At present, 152 children have been adopted so far by 10 countries such as Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Switzerland, Denmark and Belgium.
Meanwhile, the government from has deported over 3,105 beggars and lunatics to their countries and states of origin.
Giving a breakdown of the statistics, Badru revealed that Sokoto State had the highest number of beggars with 196 arrested on Lagos streets, followed by Oyo State with 83, Kano State 75, Osun 67, Ekiti 21, while Ondo State had seven.
On the number of lunatics he said available statistic showed that Niger Republic had the highest number of beggars and lunatics arrested by having 12, Chad Republic 2 and Cote D’Ivorie had just one.
Badru explained that the state government has zero tolerance for begging and destitution in state adding that picking of unwanted persons from streets of Lagos will be a continuous exercise.
He said that his office would continue to work together with security agencies to rid the city of these unwanted persons, saying it is an offence to indulge the beggars who troop to the state on daily basis to beg for arms.
On the essence of the state’s rehabilitation centre at Owutu, Ikorodu, where beggars, destitute, mentally challenged and drug addicts picked from the roads are taken to, he said the state government will continue to make provision for facilities to help rehabilitate the beggars/destitute .
He said the mentally unstable picked on the roads across the state would be given adequate medical attention, while 38 able bodied among those picked on the roads who were suspected to be criminals have been handed over to the State Task Force for prosecution.
To effectively tackle the problem in the state, Badru appealed to members of the public to desist from giving alms to beggars/destitute on the street, pointing out that giving alms to beggars will encourage them to remain in the act which is fast becoming a profession of some people disguising to be beggars.