The Benue State Government today, Sunday received 19 victims of child trafficking repatriated from Lagos, following the intervention of a Non-Governmental Organisation, Break The Silence Initiative Nigeria, BSiN.
The victims made up of seven boys from Ushongo and twelve from Vandeikya Local Government Areas of the State were among many other unidentified Benue teenagers trafficked to different parts of Nigeria by some persons who security operatives describe as unscrupulous elements.
Receiving the victims on behalf of the Government, Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Tabitha Igirgi appreciated the NGOs involved and the Nigerian Police for the interception and repatriation of the affected children, adding that the State Government would do all it could to end the ugly practice.
Before handing over the victims to Benue State Government, the Executive Director of BSiN, Mrs Phoebe Awange, accompanied by Mr. Benjamin Usman of Child Trafficking Department, Lagos State Police Command, explained that her organization swiftly swung into action upon receiving a tip off on the 28th January, 2021, leading to the rescue of the victims and the arrest of two traffickers who are currently undergoing investigation.
She urged the State Government to beam its searchlight on the southern part of Nigeria, especially Lagos and Rivers States as there are more victims of trafficking yet to be discovered.
Also speaking, the Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, North Central Zone, Mrs Gloria Bai, said NAPTIP was present to witness the handover and to ensure justice for the victims.
Speaking on behalf of Eunice Spring of Life Foundation, ESLF, the Programme Manager, Mr. Tine Agernor emphasized the importance of partnership as a key strategy for addressing societal ills, saying it was through partnership with relevant stakeholders that the return of the children was made possible.
He called on parents, guardians and community members to be observant and take action to end human trafficking which he describing it as a gross human rights violation.
The Vandeikya and Ushongo LG, both called on the parents to keep an eye on their children and applauded the NGOs for the quick intervention efforts to rescue the children.
Others who spoke on the occasion were the member representing Ushongo Constituency at the Benue State House of Assembly, Hon Abbas Akoso, Chairman, Ushongo Local Government Area, Hon Joseph Asawa and his counterpart from Vandeikya, Mrs Kukase Garba who all condemned the incident which they said was unacceptable.
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