Punuka Foundation Launches Childcare Centre

Guests In A Group Picture After The Commissioning The Facility

The Punuka Foundation has launched its state-of-the-art Childcare Centre in Sangotedo, Ajah, Lagos, to help challenged children. 

The Foundation was founded by the Senior Partner of Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors, Dr. Anthony Idigbe (SAN), and the Managing Partner, Mrs. Elizabeth Idigbe, in 2004.

The commissioning was part of a year-long events to mark the centenary of the late Supreme Court Justice, Chukwunweike Idigbe, who established the law firm in 1947.

Inspired by the Idigbes’ personal experiences, the centre will cater to the health and educational needs of children and young adults with developmental needs such as autism, Down syndrome, cerebral palsy, and Attention Deficient Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), among others.

Chief Idigbe explained that the land for the project was acquired in 2007, following their experiences catering to their third child both at home and abroad.

He said the couple observed that there was a dearth of facilities to cater to special needs children in the country.

The Silk believes that the expansive facility would provide world-class care for children of families in need.
“The facility will start with 18 kids,” Idigbe said, adding that the Foundation hoped to admit more children as the facility expands.

Mrs. Idigbe added that the facility will run a five-day boarding programme weekly, while parents will be expected to pick up their children at the end of school on Fridays.

She noted that this arrangement will relieve parents and guardians of the tremendous challenge of caring for their special needs children and free them up to attend to other matters. 

“This journey started when my husband and I faced the challenge with one of our children, Chuka. 

“In our journey with Chuka, we realized that a lot of people with similar challenges needed help. 

“It is tough to take care of a challenged child, but it is important to face the challenge, with prayers to God, action on doing the very best for the child and having a community of experts and fellow parents for support. 

“Hence the childcare centre is to give succour to families in this situation and maximize the potential of challenged children. 

“It is also a reminder that no child should be left behind,” Mrs. Idigbe said.

She added that the Foundation had assembled a team of passionate and highly skilled professionals and is “committed to providing the highest quality care, therapy and education to each child entrusted to us”.

“At Punuka Foundation, we understand that the journey of a child with special needs is not one that can be reversed alone by their parents and caregivers. 

“We value the importance of partnerships and collaborations with parents, caregivers, educators, and the wider community. 

“Together, we will create a support system that nurtures the growth, development, and well-being of these incredible children.” 

Former Lagos State Deputy Governor, Princess Adejoke Orelope-Adefulire, who chaired the event and commissioned the centre, commended the leadership of the Punuka Foundation for the initiative.

She hailed “their exceptional commitment to the plight of the challenged children and their parents”. 

She added: “I recognize that caring for challenged children can be quite tasking and requires care specific to their health, mental, social and physical development.

“It is pertinent to note that this noble initiative being undertaken by Punuka Foundation, is in line with the spirit and letters of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).”

She urged the foundation not to relent in its efforts on the care and empowerment of children with special needs and their caregivers, as these children have equal rights and opportunities like every other citizen. 

“We must all ensure that these children are able to live free of violence, discrimination and abuse,” she added.

Vice Chair of the Kano Independent Research Trust and senior lecturer at Bayero University and Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, Dr. Amina Umar, delivered the keynote address.

She noted the importance of having the right facilities for special needs children and urged others to emulate the foundation.

Guests at the event included Mr. Tayo Oyetibo (SAN), Mrs Dorothy Ufot (SAN), Dr. Babajide Ajibade (SAN), who is also a trustee of the foundation, among other seniors and junior lawyers and law sector stakeholders.

Others were His Grace, Most Rev. (Dr.) Alfred Adewale Martins, Archbishop of the Metropolitan See of Lagos, who blessed the centre; immediate past Minister of State for Budget and National Planning Prince Clem Agba; representatives of the Ajayi Apata family, and representatives of the Order of Preachers (the Dominicans) who will be providing Chaplaincy support to the Centre.

Also present were the Board of Trustees of the Punuka Foundation, the Board of Partners, Management and Knights and Ladies of St Mulumba; the staff of Punuka Attorneys and Solicitors, and captains of industries and clients.

Chairman of the Centenary Organizing Committee and a Partner at Punuka, Mr Nnamdi Oragwu, in a statement after the event, added that the year-long events will continue on August 12, 2023, with the inauguration of the “Honourable Justice Chukwunweike Idigbe Museum and Youth Centre” in Asaba, Delta State.

This will be chaired by Chief Thompson Okpoko (SAN), with Delta State Governor, Sheriff Oborevwori, as the special guest.

On August 11, a public lecture with the theme: “The Impact of Justice Idigbe on Nigerian Commercial Jurisprudence through his judgements” will be held at the NBA Bar Centre in Asaba. 

Professor Poonam Puri from Osgoode Hall Law School in Canada will be the guest lecturer.

Prof Emeka Chianu will also speak at the NBA event.

On the same day, the “Hon. Justice Idigbe E-Library and Resource Centre” will be donated to the NBA Asaba branch.