The Ogun State government has explained that the decision to return the two children who were allegedly raped by a pastor to the orphanage where the incident took place was in the best interest of the children who had known no other place than the Home.
State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Elizabeth Sonubi, in a statement, yesterday, explained that the victims of the alleged child abuse were returned to the Light of Hope Orphanage, Akute, run by Pastor Olutayo Atunde, who is currently remanded in prison for allegedly raping them, because the home is the most conducive place for them.
Pastor Atunde who has been accused of luring the two children before having the carnal knowledge of them was subsequently arrested by police and then charged to court which remanded him in prison.
Explaining why it took the action, the government said: “A Non Governmental Organisation, Project Alert, which petitioned the Police over the allegation against Atunde, demanded money to accommodate the children and relatives who were invited to take them into custody outrightly rejected the offer to take up such responsibilities.”
“We don’t want a break in the education of the subjects. In actual fact, one of them is sitting for the on-going JSS 3 examination and we don’t want their educational circle to be broken as this could make them have cause to regret ever opening up.
“The psychological state of the children was put into consideration. The children needed to be where they would be comfortable and also be in the right psychological state of mind. The orphanage is the only home they have ever known.
“Some of the 33 children in the orphanage whose ages range between two and 22 years, are in higher institutions of learning while others are in pre-basic class and SSS 2, as we are approaching the middle of the third term many of them will soon be sitting for promotion examinations in their respective schools”.
Sonubi however denied a media report that the victims had Pelvic Inflammatory Disease, PID, but that it only show that they have infection which could have emanated from any source.
She said logistic challenge associated with an outright closure of the Home should be appreciated in its right perspective, stating that two officials of the Ministry of Women Affairs have been detailed to constantly monitor the orphanage since the beginning of the case as its officers visit the home every other day.
“It should be noted that before his remand in prison, the state government had ordered that Atunde should not visit the premises of the orphanage while his wife, who was allowed to take over the management, gave an undertaken not to interfere with the on-going judicial process or take action which will intimidate the children,” the statement added.