Osinbajo, Alakija, others canvass support for child adoption
As the world marks this year’s Adoption Day at the weekend, Vice President, Prof., chairman/CEO, Famfa Oil, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija and other personalities have stressed the need for Nigerians to shun stigmatisation of adopting children.
Speaking at the second annual conference of Heritage Adoption Support and Advocacy Group (HASAAG) in Lagos, Osinbajo said: “Our duty as concerned persons is to make the process of adoption easier. There is also the need to educate and sensitise those around us on adoption.
“I have practically been to every state in Nigeria and what you find is sheer number of little children that wander all over the place without being catered for. It is a paradox not to find children to adopt when there are so many children all over the place in need of love and care.
“What is missing is that we need men and women who are committed or vehement in their advocacy on adoption. We don’t have enough of such people who can lobby the legislature. Someone sent a message to me about famous people that were adopted and I found it fascinating that Nelson Mandela, Bill Gates, Malcom X were all adopted. It struck me then that adoption is in God’s plan.”
Alakija on her part said adoption is long overdue in Nigeria. “It has been like a taboo or stigma if you adopt and people shy away from it. But it is something that should be encouraged.”
Chairman of HASSAG, Pastor Ituah Ighodalo, noted that the narrative towards adoption must change. “There are approximately 17.5 million orphaned and vulnerable children in Nigeria while 25 per cent of married couples in Nigeria are childless. Adoption, can to a very large extent, reduce the numbers on both sides.
Mr. Ajao Olabode who represented the Commissioner for Youth and Social Development, stressed the need to educate the public on how to handle adoption.
Also, Child Protection Specialist, UNICEF, Denis Onoise, stated that six out of every 10 children before age 15 have suffered abuse. He added that adoption draws more on the ideal of adults as protecting rings. It de-emphasize the concept of Residential/Correctional Home.