A group, Association for Orphans and Vulnerable Children Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) in Nigeria, has advocated for proper policies to guide the establishment of orphanages to ensure the wellbeing of orphans and vulnerable children (OVC).
The group told a press conference on ‘Street Children: Access to Needs’, to mark the 2011 International Day of the African Child, that Nigeria was yet to have a document that guided the adoption of children.
According to the group’s national coordinator, Barrister Grace Dafiel, this development has hindered moves by the international community to adopt the Nigerian OVC, and insisted that the inability of those in authority to come up with policies that would address the needs of OVC was a slap on the nation’s face.
Barrister Dafiel frowned at recent statistics which indicated that about 17.5 million children were affected by this lapse, while over 8.2 million orphans were currently in limbo across the country, a figure which she said increased by four percent annually.
She called on government to build transit camps as an interim approach to ease the adoption and re-integration of such children by interested well-meaning Nigerians, while those that could not be adopted would be absolved by Community-Based Organisations (CBOs).
Describing the situation as pathetic, Dafiel urged the Federal Government to tackle the problem head-on, and stressed that the challenges faced by the OVC was not just an epidemic but a time bomb waiting to explode, as relevant organisations which had the drive and passion to save the Nigerian child lacked the resources to do so.
‘We are indebted to our society and these vulnerable children; we owe them a responsibility. Together, let us strive to address the need of the Nigerian child,’’ she pleaded.
She explained that the day was set aside to commemorate the effect of the orphan and vulnerable child phenomenon