By: kwabena Adu Koranteng
The Nigmagma family has said it has established contact with Yayra Nagari, the young girl who was illegally adopted by the Krobo Edusei Family from the Agape Mission church in 2008.
Speaking to this investigator in an exclusive interview, spokesperson of the family, Johannes Okpanol said ?we have managed to establish contact with Yayra Nagari. We managed to know where she schools, where she lives with the adopted parents and her current conditions?.
?I must say that we spoke to her extensively and she confided in us that she is not happy at all at how she is being treated and pleaded with us to do everything possible to get her out of her predicament. She confided in us that she wants us t do everything possible to let her join her biological father and reunite with her brothers?.
?Based on this we have started a legal process at the Accra Fast Track High Court? and would soon haul the actors and players in the adopted process?
Yaiyere Nagari is one of the four children adopted by the Agape church in 1994 during a mission at Damanko, a village near Nkwanta along the Volta Lake in the northern part of the Volta Region. Apart from Yaiyere Nagari, Solomon Nagari, Timothy Nagari and Enoch Wumbe were picked by the missionaries out of the numerous children that were presented to them for consideration upon their request. According to the father of the girl, Jonas Nagari Nigmama in an interview with the investigative team at his home village ?when I gave my daughter to them in 1994 , there was only verbal agreement between us and they promised that they will take good care of her and the other children?. ?They also assured that Yaiyere Nagari will return after completing her education, not knowing, they were going to give her to adoption. As to whether they collected money or not I cannot tell,? he stated in an interview, all that I need now is for my daughter to return to me? he stated.
?I heard rumors that they gave my daughter to that family after taking huge sums of money from them but I cannot substantiate this allegation. All that I want is for my daughter to return to Me?, he reiterated .
According to Mr. Nigmama, people in his village think he has gone to sell his daughter for money because all the other children have returned to the village without her daughter. ?Wherever they go people ask them about the whereabouts of Yaiyere Nagari. I always feel bad about this and don?t know what to do?, he noted.
According to the spokesperson of the family, Johannes, Okpanol, the release of Yaiyere Nagari to the church became possible after the young children lost both parents through strange circumstances. He said The Father of Yaiyere Nagari, Jonas Nagari Nigmama lost his wife, Yaiyere mother a week after both parents of Solomon Nagari and Timothy Nagari from the same family also died through strange circumstances leaving them behind.
He said the death of these key members of the family who were also bread winners brought trauma to the household as well as frustration and confusion among the members as to what they were going to do with the little children left behind at the time.
He indicated that since there was nobody to take care of them at the time, the family decided to give the children to the church to be taken care off at the orphanage until they are through with their education or until it has put things in order to reclaim them.
Johannes noted that after almost ten years at the Agape Mission Orphanage located at Oyarifa near Adenta in the Greater Accra region, some members of the Nigmama family became shocked when they visited the orphanage one day in 2011 and realized that Yaiyere Nagari was nowhere to be found.
?When we asked about her whereabout, we were told that she has been given to adoption and this was done without our knowledge?. It means that somebody has connived to give the girl to adoption without our knowledge; this is a pure act of child trafficking and must be treated as such. I don?t know why the police are divided over this,? according to Johannes Okpanol.
Johannes Okpanol is the spokesperson for the family and cousin of Yaiyere Nagari, who led a team of family members to the orphanage in September 2011 when they were informed of the steps the Agape Church had taken to give Yaiyere Nagari. ?We rushed in there when we were alerted by some staff of the orphanage that Yaiyere had been given to adoption and plans were in place to give the other two boys Solomon and Timothy also to adoption?. Johannes and Albert, cousins of the girl Yaiyere Nagari said they rushed to the orphanage to put a stop to the attempt to give the other boys to adoption and further rescued them from the home.
Speaking to the investigative team Mr. Okpanol said when the mission visited the town in 1994 it requested people wishing to give their children to the church to take care of at its orphanage to make them available. ?Since everybody wanted education for his kids and more especially in Accra, several families including ours? presented their children. Out of the lot that was presented, only four children were selected by the missionaries after screening and three out of the four children are from our Nigmama Family and the other one Enoch Wumbe from Nkwanta, a nearby town. They were three boys and one girl with Yaiyere being the eldest.
?The Nigmama family at the time was informed that the children were going to stay at the orphanage and wouldn?t be given to adoption. But what they did is contrary to the verbal agreement t with the church at the time.? ?This is in contravention with the earlier agreement. We also got to know that the orphanage gave the baby girl to adoption at a time it had no license from the Social Welfare Department to operate as an orphan home. ?We made a report to the Ghana Police Service who referred us to the Anti Human Trafficking unit which effected the arrest of the leader and the elders of the church. ?We subsequently made a report to the Department of Social Welfare, The Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council (GPCC). ?Interestingly the church leaders were released a day after their arrest after what the police claimed was an order from above .
When a member of our investigation team spoke to Mr. Krobo Adusei in September 2012 , he confirmed that he and his wife have adopted the little girl Yaiyere Nagari which was done legally at the court through an acceptable laid down procedure as required by the law.
According to Mr. Krobo Adusei he and his wife properly and legally adopted the little girl from the orphanage with the help of the social Welfare Department and the court and there is no way he would hand over the child back to the original family or renegotiate the terms and conditions.
Speaking to this reporter in the plush conference room of his Cal Tidimal stevedoring company, at the Tema Habour during a visit Mr. Krobo Adusei Jnr dared the Nigmama family to go to court and seek redress if they have a problem with the adoption.
He mentioned his wife, a reverend minister who frequented the orphanage as the one who came to convince him to adopt the girl. ?After some initial resistance I agreed and requested the social welfare department to help us adopt the girl. He made available a high court document with suit number ADP.75/2004 attached claiming that Yaiyere Nagare, a female has been adopted by Krobo Adusei Jnr and Mrs. Krobo Adusei, his wife who is a Nigerian, Private Mail Bag CT6 Cantonments Accra and as a result changed her name to Rinnah Yaiyere Nosarhieme Krobo- Adusei. Date of adoption was 27th May 2004.
He said when the girl was finally adopted they realized she was very sick and needed special medical care which no medical facility could offer in Ghana ? so we took her to Europe and paid much for her treatment? on her return we sent her to one of the best schools in Ghana to start schooling, she is now driven in a car to school , she lives in a luxurious mansion with us here , on vacation she travels to Europe with my kids on holidays . I mean she gets the best treatment that nobody in her family can offer?
?She has travelled to many countries in Europe and I don?t understand why they want to destroy her future. We have spent a lot on her and I don?t think I will let her go?, he said. Also speaking to another member of the investigative team in an exclusive interview, the Director of the Anti Human Trafficking Unit of the Ghana Police service Mrs. Patience Quaye confirmed that the case was under her investigations. She said investigations were ongoing but was not certain when it would be completed. Besides she would not disclose the details of their findings so far, but the questions is how long would it take for the police to conclude investigations on this case which has already covered about 8 months since a report was made.
At the Ghana Pentecostal and Charismatic Council, the General Secretary, Apostle Samuel Yaw Antwi also confirmed that the Nigmama Family wrote to inform him about the issue and how the Agape Church which is a member of the council has behaved by not respecting the right of the family.
He said since the church was a member of the GPCC, he wrote to the Agape Church and the Social Welfare Department for explanation and documentation. ?On the 5th of September 2012 we wrote to the Department of Social Welfare that we needed adequate information on the adoption of Yaiyere Nagari since it was supervised by an official of the Department ,one Daniel Apako on behalf of the Department as captured by a high court suit no ADP.75/2004?.
?We sent the letter to the Department by hand and as I speak to you today 23rd November 2012 we have not received any reply from them. It?s very unfortunate that this is happening. We shall write to them again to remind them and if they fail to respond again, then we shall advise the representatives of the Nigmama family to go to court and seek legal redress.? ? in my personal opinion , I think the family should have been informed before giving the girl to adoption since she was picked from a family .? She was not sold so I don?t see the reason why she should be adopted without the knowledge of the family. These issues ought to be resolved with urgency. ?This issue is a very complicated one and I thought the two families, that?s the Nigmama family and the Krobo Adusei family could join us in a meeting to resolve the issue once and for all but this has not happened yet, let?s hope it happens,? he added. Also speaking to this reporter in an interview, Director in charge of Orphanages at the Social Welfare Department Mrs. Obeng Asamoah noted that she has ordered the closure of the Agape Orphanage at Oyarifa due to the numerous problems that its operations are creating and the numerous complaints she is getting from the general public about its operations.
She said the church could operate the school without the orphan home since all children in Ghana have families and these children could live with their families and receive educational and other support from the church if it wants to assist them.
?Children can be assisted while with their families, that is far better than operating the orphanage with myriad of problems. She also confirmed that the orphanage operated for so many years without license and as a result had no right to give children to adoption.?
However, she said the representative of the social welfare department, Daniel Opaka who facilitated the adoption of Yaiyere Nagari is reported dead and this makes it difficult to get all the files on the adopted girl. After several days of communication with the church in an attempt to get their reaction to the various allegations leveled against them , the administrator of the church, Miss Veronica Anim finally responded with this email.
?I wish to thank you for your mail and your desire to seek clarification regarding this matter. We appreciate your diligence in seeking for the truth?.
?The questions you asked are in relation to a matter that is currently being reviewed at the Legal Aid. I therefore will defer answering your questions until such time as whatever appropriate legal processes have been completed. Thank you very much and God bless you?.
Meanwhile Orphanaid Africa, a non-government organization (NGO) that sponsors families to care for orphans instead of taking them to orphanages, is calling on government to abolish orphanages in Ghana.
Awo Boatemaa Aboagye-Dankwa Head of Family Support Services at Orphanaid says orphanages are foreign to Ghanaian culture and even the West have abolished them because they have proven to be ineffective, so there is no reason for Ghana to keep orphanages.
This call comes in the wake of grave abuses and crimes against children in three orphanages in Ghana within the space of about a year.She said the evidence of abuse and criminal activities in orphanages also detach children from society and make them lose their self confidence when they become adults,? she said. Research carried out by the Department of Social Welfare in 2009 indicated that up to 90 per cent of children in orphanage are not real orphans but rather children of poor parents who cannot afford to pay for the education of their ward.
This story has been legally screened and Funded by Programme For Africa Investigative Reporters -?PAIR
Source:?kwabena Adu Koranteng