Antonet Uzoka, Executive Director and founder of Foster Paradise Orphanage, has appealed to Dame Edith Okowa, Delta State First Lady, to intervene in the reopening of her orphanage shut down by some officials of the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs led by Oghenekevwe Agas, Permanent Secretary in the ministry.
In a letter she signed and sent to the Delta State First Lady and made available to Daily Independent she explained that in April this year officials of the Ministry stormed her orphanage home with a truckload of armed Policemen, suspected thugs and media men from town.
She noted that Agas led the siege to the home with no search or arrest warrant.
“I was feeding the children with my staff when Oghenekevwe Agas asked for the necessary papers that qualifies the home as an Orphanage. I showed her our current documents. She insisted that even so she has come to lock up the Orphanage and also seize the children 23 in all.
“She took me with the children to a Police Station where she locked me up and my staff and left with the children. The Police officers at the Station informed me that Agas ordered them to release me after she had left with the children.
She added in the letter that the ministry did not invite her or any member of the board for any questioning and that there was no notice given before she came to abduct the children in the home.
“The day after the incident, various media platforms including online media published a plethora of lies about me and in the various reports published she said my name is Mrs Antonet Eze whereas my name is Antonet Uzoka. That is to say she does not have correct information about me and the Orphanage.
“She said she raided the home at Ashaka, but it was at Obetim, our new site. She came to arrest me and the children. She claimed the house is illegal.
Also it is a response to the clarion call for all hands on deck to complement the efforts of our Governors to build a good society. I had to abandon my childcare projects and my youth football team in Lagos and came to my community in Delta State in 2014 to open the Orphanage due to incessant cases of child abandonment. Since I came into my community to play my part, the Chieftains, Elders, people and some corporate organisations are happy with me and all my social service to the community.
“I have been law-abiding; besides I have a lot of people that look up to me. Not only children, I have organised lots of programmes for women. I have attended sundry programmes and seminars to equip myself in this noble course. For my efforts I have been recognised by organisations for children and women and every year we mobilise and organise them for a better future.
“We have about 3000 widows on our list. We are counselling and empowering them. Your Excellency Ma, I would like to appeal for your urgent intervention to Mrs. Oghenekevwe Agas, through your noble personality and good offices that whatever the case may be, she should consider my plight so that together we can contribute to raise the level of children and women in our communities; a task this unnecessary skirmishes will never in any way help.
“I have sacrificed all for this course and I feel someone like me should be encouraged instead of being vilified, incriminated and condemned. It is in this light that I am appealing to you as the First Mother of the State to look into this case all for our good,” she added.
Culled from the Independent