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PROSTITUTION: 20,000 Edo, Delta girls currently in Mali, says NAPTIP

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…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.

 

 

 

 

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29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

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29 Killed In Southern Brazil’s Worst Storms

Four consecutive days of intense rainfall, floods, and mudslides that hit Brazil’s southern state of Rio Grande do Sulworst released the worst storms that killed 29 people and left 60 others missing, Governor Eduardo Leite said.

“Unfortunately, we know that these numbers will rise,” said Leite, describing the storms as the worst natural disaster in the state’s history, a top agricultural and livestock producer.

Brazilian President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva visited Santa Maria, one of the state’s worst-hit cities, and met with Leite on Thursday.

Lula offered federal funding and aid to address the emergency in the state bordering Uruguay and Argentina.

“There will be no shortage of help from the federal government to take care of health, no shortage of money to take care of transportation and food, everything that is within reach.

“Whether through ministers, civil society, or our military, we’ll dedicate round-the-clock effort to satisfy the basic needs of the people stranded by the rains,” said the president.

With more rain forecast, the governor called on residents, to head for higher ground and stay away from flood-prone areas identified by the civil defence agency.

He said 4,400 residents have been evacuated but thousands more are waiting to be rescued from their flooded homes.

According to a civil defence bulletin, 154 cities have been affected by natural disasters.

– Xinhua

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Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

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Israel Says Not Briefed In Time About Hamas Accepting Gaza Ceasefire Proposal – Reports

The Israeli government was taken aback that Hamas accepted the latest Gaza ceasefire proposal, formed by Qatari and Egyptian mediators, as the country was only briefed on the Palestinian movement’s response an hour after its release.

The Axios news outlet reported this on Tuesday, citing three Israeli officials.

On Monday, Hamas informed Qatari and Egyptian mediators that it agreed to the terms of the ceasefire deal they had drafted.

The proposal provides for three stages of 42 days, during which a complete ceasefire in the Gaza Strip and an exchange of Israeli hostages for Palestinian prisoners are expected to be concluded.

In addition to allegedly being briefed on Hamas’ decision belatedly, the Israeli officials told Axios they had been outraged by the fact that the proposal accepted by the Palestinian movement allegedly contained “many new elements,” which had not been discussed with the Jewish state.

“It looked like a whole new proposal,” one of the Israeli officials was quoted by the news outlet as saying.

That “new” proposal, which allegedly was not negotiated with Israel, had been presented by the mediators to Hamas’ delegation during the latter’s visit to Cairo last weekend, the Israeli officials told Axios.

Meanwhile, a source familiar with the negotiations said Israeli representatives had also been invited by the United States to visit Cairo along with Hamas but had refused to do so.

The Israeli authorities have been seriously disappointed with Washington’s mediating role in the talks with Hamas, Axios reported.

CIA Director Bill Burns participated in the recent round of the negotiations in Cairo and Doha and was aware of that “new” proposal, but allegedly did not inform Israel about it, sources familiar with the matter were cited by the news outlet as saying.

Meanwhile, a senior US official told Axios that “American diplomats have been engaged with Israeli counterparts,” adding there were “no surprises.”

On Monday, the Israel Defense Forces started a military operation in the eastern parts of Rafah, after urging residents to evacuate.

Palestinian movement Hamas said that it had agreed to the provisions of the Gaza ceasefire deal proposed by Egypt and Qatar, but Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the deal unacceptable.

More than a million people are believed to be sheltering in the city.

On Oct. 7, 2023, the Palestinian movement Hamas launched a large-scale rocket attack against Israel and breached the border, attacking both civilian neighbourhoods and military bases.

Nearly 1,200 people in Israel were killed and some 240 others abducted during the attack.

Israel launched retaliatory strikes, ordered a complete blockade of Gaza, and started a ground incursion into the Palestinian enclave with the declared goal of eliminating Hamas fighters and rescuing the hostages.

Over 34,700 people have been killed so far by Israeli strikes in the Gaza Strip, according to local authorities.

More than 100 hostages are still believed to be held by Hamas in Gaza. 

– Sputnik

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East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

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East Africa Floods Affecting 750,000 People, Kill 235 – UN

UN humanitarians said about 750,000 people were affected by flooding in eastern Africa, with 234,000 displaced and more than 236 killed.

The UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) said local authorities in Kenya reported more than 285,000 people were affected nationwide.

“The United Nations and our partners are supporting the government-led response and have reached more than 126,000 people with water and sanitation assistance.

“About 31,000 people were assisted with food and cash, more than 5,000 assisted with health services, and nearly 26,000 people with emergency shelter support,” OCHA said.

The office said that in Somalia, more than 160,000 people were affected by flooding, with more than 37,000 displaced or relocated.

Flooding has killed seven children since April 19, with the states of Hirshabelle, Jubaland and Southwest the worst affected.

Humanitarian agencies said local authorities provided more than 70,000 people with food, cash, water, sanitation, shelter and health assistance.

Some 50 boats were deployed to deliver supplies or evacuate people who may have been marooned by flood waters.

“Our partners estimate that the rains and floods could affect at least 770,000 people in Somalia,” OCHA said.

“The rains are also likely to worsen the ongoing cholera epidemic in the country.”

The humanitarians said that in Burundi, torrential rains and the rising water level of Lake Tanganyika have affected nearly 180,000 people since January.

The agriculture sector is heavily impacted, with national authorities estimating that 40,000 hectares or 10 per cent of the country’s crop area have been affected.

“A flood response plan seeking 25 million U.S. dollars is being finalised to support more than 300,000 people,” OCHA said.

“Our partners are providing health care support, drinking water, tarpaulins and psychosocial support.”

According to humanitarians, in Tanzania, the government and partners deployed search and rescue teams and distributed emergency aid, including food, mattresses, mosquito nets and tents to assist flood-affected people.

The office said that in Rwanda, heavy rains and floods killed and injured dozens of people and damaged roads, bridges and hundreds of homes.

Local authorities reported that several hectares of rice and banana plantations were also damaged.

“The governments and humanitarian partners are supporting evacuation efforts and the response,” OCHA said.  

– Xinhua

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