By Olakunle Adeniyi
The Senate President, Dr Bukola Saraki has declared that the Senate will harmonise all child adoption laws in the country to enable Nigerians wishing to adopt children do so without hindrance.
According to a statement by a media aide, Mr Chuks Okocha, said Saraki made this known when he received the South East Professional Women Association of Nigeria and the Diaspora (SEPWAND in Abuja.
According to the statement, the essence of the initiative is to reduce the rampant cases of girl child sex slavery in certain parts of the country.
“Though there are different adoption laws from the various states of the federation, the 8th Senate will ensure that these adoption laws are harmonised, to make child adoption easier for couples.
“The harmonisation of these adoption laws will go a long way to halt the increasing and rampant cases of girl-child sex slavery that get some girls get pregnant and later forced to sell the children.
“The Senate will debate these laws from the states, harmonise them and make it less stringent as they are and make adoption laws easier for couples that plan to adopt any child instead of patronising illegal child adoption centres,’’ the Senate president said.
He further said that the amendment would enable vulnerable young girls to access credit to set up businesses and in the process put operators of baby factories out of business.
The President of SEPWAND, Mrs. Nwankanya Ibe, said the South-East region of Nigeria had recorded several cases of illegal adoption centres called “Baby Factory.’’
She said the unfortunate development formed the basis for forming the organisation.
According to Ibe, SEPWAND is a non-governmental organisation whose key objectives are to eradicate girl-child abuse, sex slavery and all forms of violence against women.
She added that the organisation was set up to empower the girl-child through scholarship awards, livelihood skill developments and to empower women in agriculture.
“In line with SEPWAND objectives, a number of programs have been mapped out. Among which are identification and award of scholarship to vulnerable girl-child, livelihood skill development and empowerment.
“As such, we intend to have a skill development centre at our headquarters in Enugu for the pilot stage and eventually in all state capitals in the South East.
“Another programme that we are passionate about is the sensitisation of women and empowering them in agriculture by providing them with high yield seedlings and seed capital,’’ the president said.
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