In line with its protection mandate, the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) on Wednesday recorded another milestone when it concluded a mediation process and handed over an 8-month-old baby boy to his biological father, Mr Olumilade Ayinde following the death of his wife, Joy Ayinde.
Before the handover, the ceremony was presided by the Commission’s Director of the Department of Women and Children, Mr Harry Oguche Obe, on behalf of the Executive Secretary, Tony Ojukwu Esq. Mr. Obe explained the mandate of the Commission to the parties present at the occasion.
The Director said that the mandate of the Commission is to protect the rights of every Nigerian and other person living in Nigeria, noting that child protection is a critical aspect of the work of the Commission.
The Human Rights Advocate used the opportunity to commend the humanitarian efforts of First Baptist Church for taking responsibility for the care and support of the vulnerable baby whose mother allegedly died of COVID-19 after giving birth to the baby in Abuja.
The legal luminary noted that the Church has played a crucial role in complementing the work of the Commission, urging other groups in the society to emulate the church in this respect.
In his remarks, Reverend Doctor Israel Akanji who spoke on behalf of the First Baptist Church said that they stepped in to protect the interest of the couple and their baby as both parents are members of the Church.
According to him, the Church is glad to have shown love and care to the baby in line with the Biblical injunction of embracing and leading children to the right path, which he noted was exemplified by Jesus Christ.
He, however, stated that though the Church has the capacity to keep and take care of the baby for a long time, they are constrained to doing so following alleged scandal coming from the biological father of the baby which portrays the Church in a bad light.
For instance, he alleged that the father of the baby Olumilade had engaged the legal services of Falana and Falana firm, which is owned by Femi Falana (SAN) to write to the Church using words that did not represent the good intention of the Church.
In view of the above, the former CAN Chairman in North Central Nigeria said that the Church would not continue to keep the baby hence it is concurring with the decision of the Commission to hand over the baby to the biological father, Olumilade.
Besides, Rev. Akanji said that before now the Church had established communications with the family of the late Joy in Kenya and convinced them that though their daughter died, her baby was in the safe custody of the Church.
Before the baby was handed over to his father, counsel to the family of the deceased, Samuel Oguntayi Esq. had drawn the attention of the Commission to a pending matter before the FCT high court in respect of the custody of the baby in question. But the Director noted that resolution of the Commission to hand over the baby to his biological father would not in any way affect the decision of the court.