…As SEMA denies reports of protest by IDPs in Maiduguri***
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) indicated on Thursday, that about 20,000 trafficked girls from Edo and Delta States are currently in Mali, doing prostitution.
The Benin Zonal NAPTIP Commander, Mr. Nduka Nwanwenne disclosed this at Okpekpe, Etsako East Local Government Area of Edo, during the “I’m not for Sale” campaign in the area.
Nwanwenne said that though human trafficking was a global issue, recent statistics revealed that it was more prevalent in Edo and Delta States.
The zonal commander in charge of Edo and Delta, also said though there were other reasons for human trafficking, prostitution was the most common.
He said that since 2004 when NAPTIP was established in the state, about 50 ladies of Etsako extraction had been returned to Nigeria from other countries, even as he grieved that organ harvesting has also become the latest angle to human trafficking.
He said that in view of this, there was need for protection of the children and youths.
The Zonal Commander, who also said human trafficking occurred internationally and locally, revealed that in the next few weeks, the agency would raid suspected hotels in the state where the act took place.
He said the agency had beamed its searchlight on hotels in the zone for some time now and had a list of suspected ones.
Meanwhile, Mrs Blessing Eshilama, the Ughwuede of Okpekpe and NAPTIP’s partner on the sensitisation programme, said that trafficking in women was a new form of slavery.
Eshilama also said that extant literature had shown that human trafficking in the country thrived as a result of deep-rooted system failure.
She stressed that there was urgent need to prevent human trafficking and sexual exploitation of youths and children, especially girls.
“The life of every Okpekpe son and daughter matters; no Okpekpe indigene should fall for the tricks these human traffickers employ,” she said.
In the meantime, the Borno State Emergency Management Agency (SEMA) has dismissed reports alleging that Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) protested lack of food at the Gubio IDPs Village and IDPs camp in Maiduguri.
Hajiya Yabawa Kolo, the SEMA Chairperson, insisted that the protest was not triggered by lack of food or starvation as speculated but as a result of the delay in the monthly household distribution of food by supporting humanitarian partners working at the camp.
Kolo explained that the agency was working with the World Food Programme (WFP), NEMA, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC) and Action Against Hunger to provide the monthly feeding and other activities in all the camps in Maiduguri.
“SEMA’s responsibility was to provide condiments such as okro and other perishable items, while NEMA, WFP and Action Against Hunger provide other food items.’’
She explained that the IDPs in the camp were those displaced from Northern part of Kalabalge and Kukawa Local Government Areas of the state.
“We are doing what we could to ensure proper welfare of the IDPs are met, but as you know in a situation where we have to handle about 1.4 million IDPs at the same time, delay is bound to happen.
“As government, it is our responsibility to provide durable solutions to conditions of the IDPs especially water and other basic services.
“Their security, safety, welfare and dignity is our priority,” said Kolo, adding that the agency was working with other humanitarian partners to improve coordination and strengthen responses on such emergency situations.
Kolo said that normalcy had been restored in the camp while efforts were being made to address the issue.
Sadly however, camp sources confirmed that some aggrieved IDPs staged a demonstration on Thursday in Maiduguri to protest alleged lack of food in the camp; marched through the high way close to Maimalari army cantonment before being prevented from gaining access into the city, by the military at the checking point.
In the meantime, efforts to obtain official reaction of the Nigeria Customs, a major supplier of banned, smuggled but impounded rice to the IDPs is still ongoing. It was believed that the Service had saturated the IDPs with impounded rice.