150 Pupils Rescued From Unregistered Children’s Home in Thika, Director Arrested

By Mary Wambui

Over 150 pupils have been rescued from a children’s home in Makongeni, Thika, where they were allegedly being molested by the director.

Police officers and Kiambu County Children’s Department officers raided Caritas Marina children’s home on Wednesday afternoon and arrested Mr Petrad Nkechuku, the director, who has dual Nigerian and Spanish citizenship.

Officers from the Children Welfare Society said they had also received numerous complaints from the public that Mr Nkechuku was molesting the children.

During the raid, Mr Nkechuku was found in possession of a Kenyan identification card and without a passport.

He was escorted by officers from the Directorate of Criminal Investigations to the Thika Police Station for interrogation.

The rescue mission was effected through a court order issued by Resident Magistrate Beatrice Bartoo on the same day.

The court order read: “It is hereby ordered that all the children at Caritas Marina Holy Family Children’s Home be rescued and placed in other legally established children home.

The institution be closed till it gets a certificate and is inspected by the area advisory committee (AAC).

UNINHABITABLE CONDITIONS

Mr Nkechuku was accused of operating an unregistered school, previously obstructing security forces from conducting investigations in the school and keeping children in uninhabitable conditions.

“We have confirmed that the director of the home, one Mr Nkechuku, is yet to renew his children’s home registration certificate and had gone to the extent of running a poorly conditioned primary and secondary school without authority from the Ministry of Education,” said Mr Mwambi Mong’are, Kiambu County Children’s Co-coordinator.

Thika Deputy County Commissioner Tom Anjere said the raid was preceded by investigations conducted by the Thika Sub-County Security Committee and Ministry of Health officials who had filed two reports based on their findings.

Preliminary investigations revealed that Mr Nkechuku was running the facility illegally in pretence that it was a children’s home helping parents to educate their children up to Form Four.

PUPIL DIED

“We are aware that a Class Seven pupil had passed on last week under unclear circumstances in the school, and that the school was planning to bury the pupil without informing the authorities,” said Mr Mong’are.

This, according to Mr Mong’are, is what prompted the county children’s officers to swing into action.

“Parents ought to be keen with the kind of schools they enrol their children in. We have received so many reports from the public that children studying here get molested by Mr Nkechuku. We shall get to the bottom of the matter,” said Mr Mong’are.

Similar raids are set to happen around the county to ensure that all persons given the responsibility of running children’s homes adhere to laid-down procedures.

Source: All Africa