Osinbajo decries increasing number of orphans in Nigeria

•advocates assistance for orphans

Vice President Yemi Osinbajo has lamented over the impact of conflicts on children in the country, calling for enduring peace to end the violence which has turned about 17.5 million children into orphans.

Osinbajo who stated this in Akure, Ondo State capital, during the inauguration of Dorian Home for Charity and Social Development, said the number of children whose parents had been killed during the conflicts in the country is about nine percent of the nation’s population.

According to the Vice President, the number of young children who turned to orphans had increased over the year and stressed the need to rebuild their lives after their harrowing experiences during the violence.

He said “We are confronted with a huge challenge. In 2015, the Federal Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development has estimated that there were about 17.5million orphans and vulnerable children in a nation of about a 200million people.

“That is close to nine percent of the population. Sadly this number has increased over the years due to violence, conflicts, communal clashes in different parts of the country.

“This is a large number of widows and vulnerable women and again due to conflicts in different parts of the country, the number has grown. A million orphans need spaces to grow and to thrive and ensure that their physiological needs are met, a place where they are cared for and trained.

“The women after harrowing experience also need spaces where they can begin to rebuild, that is why places like Dorian Home initiatives are needed.”

He, however, said government alone cannot solve this society’s biggest problems but require stakeholders’ attention and resources to support the orphans and vulnerable children who have lost one or both parents.

Osinbajo commended the initiative of the founder and President of the Dorian Homes, Dr Tolulola Bayode, saying such initiatives will expose orphans and women to better care and the world will be a better place for them.

He said “some of the greatest names of our time which include, Eleanor Roosevelt, Nelson Mandela, Malcolm X, Ella Fitzgerald, Leo Tolstoy, Louis Armstrong, and Steve Jobs among others grew up as orphans, and they changed history.

Bayode, while speaking on the vision for the project, explained that she was motivated by her parents and two experiences that changed her orientation and mindset towards rendering social services to humanity.

She explained that “the first was the excruciating pain I went through before I could deli er my son, Dorian, after whom this home is named. I encountered some childbirth complications that brought me face to face with the realities of life.

Considering what I went through, several questions were raised in my mind. How do the less privileged cope without social safety nets? What would have happened to me if I had no one to take care of me? What about my son? What would have happened to him if I did not make it through that experience?

“These questions mirror the reality of many people in our society today, women who have lost their husband’s and have the weight of their families on their shoulders, children on the streets without hope of where the next meal will come from”

Bayode said the state-of-the-art building would accommodate motherless babies, their games, dining, a decent kitchen, women training among other features to develop the skills of the orphans in the home.

The state governor, Rotimi Akeredolu, who described the initiative as unique said his government will continue to patner with individuals and corporate organisations ready to complement the state government in its community projects.

Akeredolu, represented by his Deputy, Hon. Lucky Aiyedatiwa, noted that the home would open several windows of opportunities for the people of the state.

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