By Maxcel Fokwen
Some 21 orphans rendered homeless through a Kumba Magistrate’s court ruling on July 31 are now being housed in a poultry farm in the Mile I neighbourhood in Kumba.
The orphans of the Chlephic Orphanage, formerly lodged on Moki Street Mile I, are now living in make-shift poultry stands belonging to Edocam Company Limited in the same area. Edocam's proprietor, Elton Disonge Obie, The Post learnt, came to the aid of the orphans after they had spent three days without shelter, following the court ruling which sent them parking from their former house.
Speaking to The Post on August 15, the Director of the orphanage, Robert Agbor, described the situation of the orphans as now living like "human chicken", in what used to be a poultry farm. Agbor, nonetheless, appreciated the owner of the poultry farm for sacrificing his business to shelter the orphans.
Agbor said the pressing need for the motherless baby home is 100 planks to step up the quality of the former poultry farm, so that it could become habitable to the children in the heart of the rainy season. He regretted that most of the children are now suffering from cold-related illnesses as a result of their poor living conditions.
Revisiting Magistrate Denis Abonifor Aboringongs' ruling of July 31, the Chlephic Director lamented that it has plunged the orphanage into “a hell of trauma". According to him, properties belonging to the orphanage were looted on the day the court judgment went into effect, given that only the babies were at home when the action took place.
He cited the loss of video cameras, projects of the orphanage, building materials, cartons of soap, phones and microphones alongside 60 small bags of rice. Magistrate Abonifor's ruling, Agbor went on, did not give the orphanage any time to get another location. Agbor recalled that when the matter had gone on in court for 10 months, an injunction was issued stopping the payment of rents to the landlord.
The same court, Agbor added, lifted the injunction and calculated the rents for the period of time the former order was given. Senior officials of the orphanage told The Post that they were paying their former landlord FCFA 80.000 per month but things went sour for 17 months, based on arguments over water and electricity bills.
Asked if the orphanage has a lawyer, the officials explained that counsel are willing to help only when they are given money, reason why their cases are hardly treated seriously in court. The hope of the orphanage, according to the officials, now lies in making the present location habitable to the orphans aged between five months and 15 years, pending efforts towards getting a permanent place.