Senate President, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki has pledged that the 8th Senate will harmonise all child adoption laws in the country to make it easier for Nigerians wishing to adopt children do so without hindrance.
Saraki spoke when the South East Professional Women Association of Nigeria and the Diaspora (SEPWAND), visited him at the National Assembly in Abuja.
He also said that the objective of harmonization of the laws on child adoption is to help reduce the rampant cases of girl-child sex slavery in certain parts of the country.
The Senate President, according to a statement by his Special Assistant on Print Media, Chuks Okocha, in Abuja, said, “though there are different adoption laws from the various states of the federation, but the 8th Senate will ensure that these adoption laws are harmonised to make child adoption easier for couples that plan to adopt any child.
“The harmonisation of these adoption laws will go a long way to halt the increasing and rampant cases of girl-child sex slavery that makes some girls to get pregnant and later 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,” he stated.
Saraki also said that the Senate would ensure that through the amendment of relevant laws that “we create opportunities for our young ones. The Senate has started this with the buy Made in Nigeria campaigns so as to create opportunities for our younger ones by creating employment opportunities.
“We shall ensure that through these amended laws that vulnerable young girls can access credit to set up businesses and in the process put operators if baby factories out of business,” Saraki said.
According to the President of the group, Mrs. Nwankanya Ibe, “the South-East has been ridiculed by illegal Adoption Centres (aka Baby Factory). We, the Professional women from this region have monitored this with keen interest and this formed the basis for forming this organisation”.
She noted that the SEPWAND is a non-governmental organization whose key objectives are to eradicate the girl-child abuse, sex slavery and all forms of violence against women and to empower the girl-child through scholarship awards, livelihood skill developments and to empower women in agriculture.
“We hope by this visit to raise awareness for the need of the Senate to look into the adoption laws whereby it is made easier for couples who genuinely wish to adopt children to do so without unnecessary bottlenecks. This will help to reduce the business of illegal adoption centres that have encouraged the vulnerable girl-child into sex slavery.
“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 program that we are compassionate about is the sensitization of women and empowering them in agriculture by providing them with high yield seedlings and seed capital”, Mrs. Ibe told the Senate President.