ACVPN criticises Lagos for refusing to protect child forced to have abortion

The Advocate for Children and Vulnerable Persons Network has criticised the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development (Child Protection Unit) over its alleged refusal to put a minor who was sexually abused and forced to have abortions in a shelter.

ACVPN is a non-governmental organisation with an interest in the protection of children and other vulnerable people.

It described the actions of the Lagos State Ministry of Youth and Social Development (Child Protection Unit) as unacceptable.

The Chief Operating Officer of the ACVPN, Ebenezer M. Omejalile, in a statement said that the case in question has to do with sexual defilement and forced abortions on a minor by her guardian identified as 36-year-old Gift Odini, an auxiliary nurse, Seyifunmi, who is a 40-year-old female. and the alleged paedophile, 46-year-old Ifeanyi Fred.

Omejalile said: “This case was reported by ACVPN to the Nigeria Police Force, Ifako-Gbagada, Lagos on the 8th of April, 2024. 

“The perpetrators, in this case, were immediately apprehended by the Police, while the minor was under the protective custody of the DPO of the station.

“The perpetrators were moved to the Gender Unit Of the Nigeria Police Force, Ikeja on the 12th of April, 2024 and further charged to court from the results of the investigations carried out by the Gender unit officers.

“The minor’s shelter status was raised to the Lagos State Ministry of Youth And Social Development, Child Protection Unit, for speedy intervention on Friday 12th April 2024, by ACVPN Case Manager, Ms Jennifer Nwosu, while the case was being heard at the Samuel Ilori Court House, Ogba Magistrate Court, so that the minor would have a safe place to stay, avoid tutoring to change her given statements and also keep her on a place where she would get away from the traumatic events.”

Omejalile recounted that the officials whom the case manager called asked for the charge sheet of the case, a police extract of the case and a letter from ACVPN and that ACVPN must state its role in the matter as required documents to enable them to place the minor in a shelter.

The case manager got the required documents and moved to deposit same in the office of the Permanent Secretary as they had stated to her on April 15, 2024.

“She, however, still met with stiff resistance as she was told that the document required was an extract from the Gender Unit,” said Omejalile.

She duly got it back to them with the Police extract document, but they also turned it down saying that there was no specification from the Investigating Police Officer of the case asking that the minor be placed in a safe shelter.

Omejalile said that the case manager even suggested that the officials of Lagos State MYSD (CPU) call the officials of the Gender Unit to get verification on the matter, but this was not helpful as even as of April 16, 2024, the officials have failed to take calls or messages to address this issue.

Omejalile stated: “We, therefore, call on the Commissioner, Lagos State Ministry Of Youth and Social Development and also the Permanent Secretary, Child Protection Unit in the ministry, to take a closer look into this matter because the Child Protection Unit (CPU) officials’ inactions Contravene the Lagos State Child Protection and Safeguarding Policy section for non-response by officials who failed to act as at when due.

“The Honourable Commissioner and the Permanent secretary should explain to us as an organisation, Lagos citizens and Nigerians as a whole, why a child of such a heinous crime, will not be granted a measure of safety to ensure her mental well-being after such a traumatic and horrific incident in her young life.

“Such an action, more likely than not, will lead to a compromise and natural death of the case, if not well handled and followed up. Also, returning the minor to her hostile environment will be too traumatic. This nonchalant stance of the Unit towards its duty continues to hinder the ongoing battle against child abusers and the rate of convictions in Lagos State.”

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