There was open display of power yesterday when Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender, Children and Social Protection, allegedly threatened to cause the arrest of her deputy, Ms Rachel Florence Appoh, and Director of Social Welfare, Christian Babooroh.
The two officials incurred the wrath of Nana Oye Lithur because the deputy minister had authorized Mr. Babooroh to release an 18-month-old baby girl to good Samaritans Jennifer and Shirley –who had saved the child from her depressed mother.
The mentally unstable woman is receiving treatment at the Accra Psychiatric Hospital, but Nana Oye Lithur would not hear any explanation, demanding the return of the baby girl who has been with her foster parents for three weeks.
The minister who is allegedly not on talking terms with her two deputies, gave a 24-hours deadline on Monday evening for the rescued baby to be produced; otherwise she would send the two top officials to jail.
When the baby was not returned at midday yesterday, Daily Guide learnt that Nana Oye, wife of President Mahama’s lawyer in the election petition, Tony Lithur, repeated her threat saying the officers must look for the baby girl who had been placed under the care of foster parents or find themselves in trouble.
Deputy Minister Rachel Florence Appoh then quickly placed a call to the foster parents, Shirley and Jennifer, to bring the baby named Shirley-Jen, after the two ladies who took her from the ‘mad’ mother after the Osu Children’s Home refused her custody.
Nana Oye declined to talk to Daily Guide on phone when she was called at press time, but rather asked the paper to come to her office.
A similar invitation to her office extended to Shirley and Jennifer was greeted with insults on Monday evening, when she virtually called them whores and walked them out.
“Is this how to dress to the minister’s office?” she allegedly yelled at them.
The two ladies wept all the way to the office of Daily Guide on Monday evening after being maltreated by the Minister, Nana Oye Lithur.
Narrating their ordeal after their interaction with Oye Lithur, the good Samaritans claimed that the minister verbally abused them when she learnt that the child was in their custody.
In a fit of anger, they said Oye Lithur went beyond chastising them for keeping the child, and questioned the appropriateness of their dressing to her office.
When contacted on phone for comments, Rachel Appoh corroborated the story, but indicated that the arrest was not directed at her, but to Mr. Babooroh, the Director of Social Welfare.
She said, “Last night the Social Welfare Director called me that the Minister (Oye Lithur) is saying that she will arrest him if he does not bring the child today (yesterday) by 10:00am. Seriously, I panicked, I could not even talk, I was even short of words.
“I don’t know how she managed to get Jennifer and Shirley into her office, a whole lot. I don’t know if they’re there with you, you can beg them for us,” Rachel told Daily Guide while panting.
Rachel, who is in charge of Social Welfare, further stated: “It’s not the Director of Social Welfare. I authorized the Social Welfare Director to rescue this baby. To be fair, I have not spoken with my minister, it was the director not me. She called the director last night that she will arrest him if he does not bring the child today, so the director called me.”
Ms Appoh noted that the good Samaritans had signed an undertaking before taking the child away, stressing, “Actually, there was an undertaking that was signed before we even gave the child to these ladies. The Osu Children’s Home could not accept this child at that night around 1:00 pm. We could not do anything. The director could not have taken this child home. He could do nothing than to give this child to these ladies.”
“To me,” she continued, “I think she went (too) far; but I haven’t even talked to her. The director could not stay in the office today because of that arrest (threat); I mean he is so frustrated, I don’t even like the way he is panicking. I am not even comfortable; I think she went too far.
It may be recalled that the media recently reported that the Department of Social Welfare had rescued an 18-month-old baby girl from her mother, who was believed to be mentally depressed.
The woman’s name was given only as Yawa, believed to hail from the Volta Region, and who has been sent to the Accra Psychiatric Hospital after a very fierce struggle with police personnel assigned to move her from an open spot at the Printex Junction on the Spintex Road in Accra.
She was first chained to the Cantonment Police Station before she was finally sent to the Psychiatric Hospital.
At press time yesterday, Daily Guide learnt that the good Samaritans, Shirley and Jennifer, had handed the child over to the officials of the Department of Social Welfare.