News/NIGERIA: AFRICA NEWS SERVICE - VICE-PRESIDENT WIFE SETS UP BODY TO TACKL

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Subject: News/NIGERIA: AFRICA NEWS SERVICE - VICE-PRESIDENT WIFE SETS UP BODY TO TACKL
From: Melanie Orhant (morhant@igc.org)
Date: Sun May 21 2000 - 08:51:08 EDT


17May00 NIGERIA: AFRICA NEWS SERVICE - VICE-PRESIDENT WIFE SETS UP BODY TO
TACKLE PROSTITUTION, CHILD LABOUR.
Lagos - The trafficking in Nigerian girls for prostitution in Europe
worries Aminu Titi Abubakar, wife of the vice president to fight it, she
has now formed omen-trafficking and Child labor Eradication Foundation,
WOTCLEF want will attack the problem through enlightenment campaign about
the dangers of the "trade". It will also help in rehabilitation of women
deported home.
On Sunday, April 9, 25 girls deported from Italy and Saudi-Arabia were
released by the police to their families through WOTCLEF. The organization
also held a one-day orientation course at the Centre for Women Development
in Abuja where Abubakar assured the deportees that all hopes were not lost.
She said that her foundation would build a multi-purpose center for the
vocational training of deportees. She assured them that graduates of the
center would get financial support.
Abubakar said some Nigerian women were driven abroad by harsh economic
policies of previous administrations. She promised that the present
administration would take up the challenge to restore the dignity of
woman-hood through vigorous and sustainable campaigns aimed at eradicating
women trafficking and child-labour in Nigeria.
She also blamed families for contributing in no small measure to the
trafficking in prostitution and child labour. She urged governments,
schools and religious bodies to take full responsibilities of Nigerian
children for "they are the nation's pride and hope." Enumerating the gains
of a two-day workshop organised by WOTCLEF last October in Abuja, Tunde
Fagbohungbe, a lawyer and secretary of the foundation stated that for the
first time in Nigeria, the prostitution rings have been smashed and those
behind them been arrested. He said that last November 92 girls being
smuggled our for prostitution through the Seme border were intercepted and
freed. He commented the Lagos police command for smashing another syndicate
which specializes in the business of exporting girls to Italy and Spain
last December.
Fagbehungbe disclosed that because of inadequacies in the Nigerian laws on
trafficking, the foundation is sponsoring a bill to the national assembly
for the enactment of specific laws against it The problem of
women-trafficking is a real problem. In 1994, Judith Attah, the then
Nigeria's ambassador to Italy drew the attention of Ibrahim Coomassie, the
then inspector-general of police to the embarrassing level of
women-trafficking from Nigeria to Italy. Attah had said:" I am afraid that
if urgent steps are not taken to arrest the situation, women-trafficking
would be more devastating in Nigeria than drug trafficking." Abimbola
Ojoma, assistant inspector-general of police in charge of 'D' department
said that Nigeria tops the list of African countries in women-trafficking
for prostitution in Europe. Ojomo who described the level of the
trafficking as alarming, stated that statistics at her disposal indicated
that last year alone, about 77 Nigerian women were arrested, deported and
escorted back to Nigeria by 120 Italian policemen. Ojomo said the
Saudi-Arabia authorities also deported 17 Nigerian women recently. "So far,
149 prostitutes have been deported back to Nigeria in recent times," Ojomo
said.
Ojomo stated that the Nigeria police in close collaboration with Interpol
was working out a multi-paterial cooperation so that the matter could be
checked appropriately. The police chief said previous deportees were mainly
from Edo and Delta States, but that girls from about 14 states were now
involved.
She disclosed that a Mafia-like organization was seriously working against
the eradication of the societal malaise. She told the audience that the
mafia was becoming more and more vicious and that some deportees who made
useful statements to the police on their mode of operation were punished.
one of victims told the police her mother was beaten to death by the mafia
because of her statement to the police. Ojomo said that eight of the women
deported from Europe last year were NIF/AIDS carriers.
Judith Attah who commended the wife of the vice-president for initiating
WOTCLEF urged Nigerians and the media to give the activities of the
foundation maximum publicity so as to raise awareness of Nigerians on the
damages of prostitution. She urged the deportees to find jobs that could
give them decent livelihood instead of demeaning womanhood in the quest for
fast riches.
Attah said the "lives of prostitutes in Europe especially in Italy is worse
than slavery as their condition is very degrading and dehumanizing for a
decent woman to aspire to." Ufot Ekaette, president of pharmaceutical
society of Nigeria and wife of the secretary to the government of the
federation painted a sorry picture of the lives of Nigerian prostitutes in
Italy. Said she." I was perplexed to see Nigerian girls in Italy walking
the streets of Italy naked with only Bikini and scarf around their necks,
waiting for market under the unfriendly weather of Italy." She lamented
that because of the activities of the girls, even decent black women
walking the streets were sexually harassed by men who pinch their buttocks
or fond their breasts.
Titiloayo Ajanaku, special assistant to the president on women affairs
urged the society to search itself so that moral and exemplary standards
could be set for the future generation. Njanaku however blamed men for
encouraging prostitution among women. According to her, "if there are 78
buyers, there would be no sellers."
All Material Subject to Copyright
Copyright 2000: Africa News Service. All Rights Reserved.
MIDDLE EAST INTELLIGENCE WIRE
AFRICA NEWS SERVICE 17/05/2000


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