Founder of 83-Year-Old Orphanage Detained for Alleged Human Trafficking

Ms. Clara Chinwe Deborah Ogoh, an 83-year-old woman and the founder of the renowned Arrow of God orphanage in Anambra State, has been admitted to a correctional facility in Onitsha, Anambra State, following her detention by the National Agency for the Prevention of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP). Ogoh, a retired Lt. Colonel in the Nigerian Army and a nurse, is accused of alleged human trafficking, as she owns an orphanage situated in Nkwere Ezunaka, Oyi L.G.A., Anambra State, with a branch in Lagos State.

The Arrow of God orphanage gained significant attention in 2023 when investigative journalist Fisayo Soyombo revealed purported illegal activities, such as the unlawful adoption and sale of infants, associated with the institution. After an extensive 19-month investigation, Soyombo reportedly purchased a baby from Ogoh in July 2023 for 2 million naira.

Subsequently, NAPTIP conducted a thorough inquiry, leading to Ogoh's arrest on October 3, 2023, at the premises of the Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Welfare, Awka, Anambra State. The defendant faced charges in court, including trafficking a five-month-old female child, and pleaded not guilty.

Presiding Judge Hauwa Ilewa granted bail to Ms. Clara Ogo in the sum of N1.3 million, requiring two sureties of equal sum, pending trial. Until meeting the bail conditions, she remained in the Onitsha Correctional Facility.

The case is scheduled for hearing on July 10, 2024, and in the interim, the orphanage has ceased its operations.

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