Thursday, June 22, 2006

Magistrate wants wealthy Muslims to foster abandoned babies
• Wednesday, Jun 14, 2006

A magistrate in Abuja, Mrs Safurat Adepoju, has urged wealthy Muslims to assist the federal government by fostering motherless babies and establishing welfare homes.
Adepoju made the call in Abuja Sunday while delivering a lecture on “Fostering Children, the Legal Implications” at the monthly meeting of UNIIFE Muslim Graduates Association (UNlFEMGA), Abuja chapter.
The magistrate noted with concern, that there were many children being abandoned by their parents because of financial difficulties or cultural reasons, who were yearning for assistance from well-to-do Nigerians.
She said that her experience as a member of the Juvenile and Social Welfare committee in Abuja showed that most of the abandoned children were born by Muslim parents, yet Muslims were not forthcoming to either foster or adopt them.
Adepoju said that such attitude was a neglect of a very important aspect of Islam, which encouraged taking care of the needy, the orphans and the homeless.
She explained that once one fulfilled the legal implications of attaining a minimum age of 25 years and had the capability of taking care of the baby with the consent of both couple, the child would be released. She added that once a child was being fostered, such child was entitled to all rights and privileges to foster except inheritance, while the biological parents had lost all rights on such a baby.
She, however, pointed out that once the baby attained the age of 18, he or she could decide whether he/she wanted to stay on his own or stay with the foster parents.
The magistrate explained that the Almajiri system was like fostering but that it was mismanaged by the people, who sent the children to the streets to beg.
She appealed to the government to come to their aid by modifying the system in such a way that the children would be useful to the society.
“My advice is for wealthy Muslims to assist government by providing succour to the children, by building voluntary homes, establishing NGOs to assist the children as they are assets to Islam and the society at large,” she said.
Earlier, the Chairman of Abuja chapter of UNIFEMGA, Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Balogun, noted that the choice of the topic was to see the role Islamic organisations could play in curtailing the menace in our society.
Balogun gave the assurance that the association would first embark on sensitisation programme to see how such idea could be translated into an NGO aimed at helping the children to become useful.

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