The House of Representatives is making a move to prevent illegal charity homes and orphanages, also referred to as ‘baby factories,’ in the Federal Capital Territory, Abuja.
The House is now considering the regulation of their activities through registration and monitoring by a body to be established by it.
The proposal, which is sponsored by a member of the house, Babatunde Adejare. The bill is awaiting the second reading.
According to Adejare, the bill seeks to establish a Federal Capital Territory Orphanage (Registration and Regulatory) Agency to “regulate the establishment and administration of orphanages and homes for neglected children to prevent the current trend towards ‘baby factories’ and other related institutions in the Federal Capital Territory.”
The bill, a copy of which our correspondent obtained on Sunday, proposed various sanctions for both the illegal organisations and their operators.
It partly reads, “Any person or organisation that contravenes the provisions of this bill, commits an offence under this bill.
“Where an offence under this bill is committed by an individual, the person shall be liable on conviction to a term of imprisonment not exceeding five years or a fine not exceeding N5m, or both. Where an offence under this bill is committed by an organisation, the organisation shall be liable to a fine not exceeding of N10m.”
The bill says the proposed FCT agency “shall formulate policies, principles and guidelines for the registration and regulation of orphanages and other related institutions, consistent with national development priorities.”
The proposed agency would also “coordinate, monitor and evaluate the activities of orphanages and other related institutions and develop, implement and review model for the implementation of policies and guidelines on the administration and regulation of orphanages and related institutions in the FCT.”
It would also have the responsibility to “promote partnerships, synergy, integration and cooperation among national and international organisations, focusing on establishment and monitoring of orphanages and related institutions; set mechanisms to ensure efficient administration of orphanages and related institutions in the FCT; and perform such other functions as may be determined by the board to give effect to the provisions of this bill.”
The board, according to the bill, will be made up of the minister in charge of matters relating to women and children, who will be the chairman. Others are a representative not below the rank of a director from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Nigerian Immigration Service; Ministries of Women (and Children) Affairs, Budget and National Planning, Finance, Health, Justice, Youth Development.
Also on the board will be two representatives of the organisation for orphanages and related institutions, Non-Govemmental Organisations involved in orphans, neglected children, orphanages and related institutions; and the secretary who will be the director-general of the agency.