The Archbishop of the Enugu Ecclesiastical Province, Most Rev. Dr. Emmanuel Chukwuma has commended Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi for signing the Child Rights Bill into law, which he said has guaranteed the rights and welfare of children in the state.
The Archbishop, who is also the Chairman, Enugu State Adoption Committee, stated that the governor’s disposition in ensuring that all illegal adoption of children are completely stamped out in the state, is commendable and worthy of emulation.
The cleric spoke during the “Sensitization Workshop for Stakeholders on Adoption and Adoption Process in Enugu State”, held in Enugu, on Monday.
He expressed delight that Gov. Ugwuanyi has provided the enabling environment for the committee to discharge its duties, stressing that “based on the magnanimity of His Excellency, this committee has ensured that baby factories where babies are harvested for rituals do not exist in Enugu state”.
The committee chairman added that the governor has assisted the state in the area of protection of the children through the engagement of social welfare workers, training of the staff and supporting them in partnering with some doctors and hospitals to ensure that the rights of children are protected.
He said that the enlightenment workshop was aimed at educating the people on the dangers of baby factories or illegal adoption and urged the society to support the committee in upholding the salvation of children.
Declaring the workshop open, Governor Ugwuanyi emphasized the importance of children in the society, pointing out that “the Bible in Psalm 127 verse 3, describes children as a heritage from God and as His gifts to mankind”. He added that it “is the obligation on the society to treat children as precious divine presents, to be loved and cared for by all”.
Represented by his deputy, Mrs. Cecilia Ezeilo, Gov. Ugwuanyi noted that the delicate and sensitive nature of children have necessitated most countries including Nigeria to make laws and rules “to ensure that adoption and fostering are not abused or used in such a manner that would be detrimental to the wellbeing of the affected children”.
He disclosed that his administration has continued to take measures towards protecting the rights and welfare of the children in the state, such as prompt constitution of the committee on child fostering and adoption, the enactment of the child rights act in 2016 as well as the establishment of 12 family courts by the state’s Chief Judge, among others.
The governor therefore applauded “the State Ministry of Gender Affairs and Social Development, the State Judiciary and other relevant agencies of government stakeholders, participants, facilitator, and all who played a role in the organization of the workshop” for the initiative.
Earlier in her opening address, the Commissioner for Gender Affairs, Princess Peace Nnaji, maintained that the establishment of the Adoption Committee by Governor Ugwuanyi has distinguished him as “a dynamic leader that cares for the welfare of children”.
She said that the workshop also provides an ample opportunity for the stakeholders and the general public to know what adoption was all about, and the adoption process in Enugu state with a view to getting it right for the overall interest of the children in particular and society in general.
Describing legal adoption as “a permanent placement of a child into a fit and proper home through the court of law, the gender affairs commissioner, further explained that it “needs multi-sectoral approach”, which requires the inputs of her ministry, court of law, public spirited individuals, religious organizations, among others.
The Chief Judge of the State, Hon. Justice Ngozi Emehelu, in her address enlightened the people on the roles of the judiciary in the dispensation of justice and lauded Gov. Ugwuanyi for according the judiciary its rightful place in the scheme of things, assuring their unflinching commitment towards rendering quality services in the state.