Metro & Crime

Benue receives 19 repatriated victims of child trafficking

The Benue State government Sunday received 19 victims of child trafficking repatriated from Lagos State, following the intervention of a Non-governmental Organisation, Break The Silence Initiative Nigeria (BSiN).
The victims made up of seven boys from Ushongo and 12 from Vandeikya local government areas of the state were among many other unidentified Benue teenagers trafficked to different parts of Nigeria by some persons whom 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 government, the Executive Director of BSiN, Mrs. Phoebe Awange, accompanied by Mr. Benjamin Usman of the Child Trafficking Department, Lagos State Police Command, explained that her organisation swiftly swung into action upon receiving a tip-off on January 28, 2021, leading to the rescue of the victims and the arrest of two traffickers who are currently undergoing investigation.
She urged the Benue State government to beam its searchlight on the southern part of Nigeria, especially Lagos and Rivers states respectively 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 the agency was present to witness the handover and to ensure justice for the victims.
Speaking on behalf of Eunice Spring of Life Foundation (ESLF), an NGO floated by wife of Governor Ortom, 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.

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