WHY WE CRITISE GOVERNOR DAVID UMAHI ADMINIATRATION-Monday Ojon (founder/executive director,Cemepia Africa)

Mr Monday Ojon

WHY WE CRITISE GOVERNOR DAVID UMAHI ADMINIATRATION
• Without any regard to the law of the land, women and humanity in general, Mr Edward Okeke of 23, Akinsoji Street Fadeyi Lagos, who is an employee of Economic And Financial Crime Commission ( EFCC) 15A, Awolowo Road Ikoyi Lagos, in exhibit department impregnated underage – Miss Blessing Nwokpa a poor street hawker victim of child trafficking from Ezza LGA of Ebonyi State Nigeria and abandoned her about five months. Our team of investigators stormed their office at the above mentioned address for fact finding. The outcome revealed:
• That Miss Blessing Nwokpa has lived with Mr Edward Okeke for two months.
• That Mr Edward Okeke promised to marry Miss Blessing Nwokpa.
• That when Nwokpa revealed to Mr Edward Okeke that she was pregnant, Mr Edward Okeke gave her #18,000.00 to abort the baby.
• That Miss Blessing Nwokpa refused the abortion and Mr Edward Okeke beat her mercilessly inflicted injury on her head, blood was gushing, Mr Edward Okeke threw her load outside and blatantly refused to take care of her. We invited Mr Edward Okeke to our office but he refused to appear in person before we stormed his office. The victim suffered untold hardship as she has nowhere to sleep with over six months pregnancy. I, Monday Ojon know how I passionately took the case to Lagos State Ministry of Women Affairs and Poverty Alleviation for justice to prevail with my NGO as an indigene of Ebonyi State.
• Sad enough, a 13 years old from Ezza LGA Ebonyi State – a victim of trafficking and forced labour – the perpetrator chased the boy away from his house for some months, fortunately Nigeria Police that saw him in his bad condition after months of begging to survive, took him, fed him, interrogated him, snapped him and posted him in facebook. Many things have happened to our people while hawking on the streets.
• One man from Anambra State impregnated Ebonyi lady- a street hawker, selling (okpa) very similar to the one I have narrated but slightly different because the man accepted to marry the lady but subjected her to torture and other domestic violence including and not limited to rapping. The man calls her “Nwabakaliki” boasting that who is in Ebonyi State that has the ability to revenge him. One day, the man beat the lady to coma, the concerned neighbor took her to the hospital, pay the bill, snapped her and directed her to our office. After narrating her ordeal to us, I drafted an invitation letter to the man to hear his own side of the story. The man came with family and friends. It is a custom in our office to take attendance when we have such meeting but the Anambra State man was a stake illiterate who cannot write his own name. I was grieved in my spirit especially for series of case involving Ebonyi State street hawkers on: abandoned pregnancy, domestic violence, cohabitation, Lagos State security agencies, death of street hawkers, illegal seizure of their goods that worth millions of naira by Kick Against Indiscipline (KAI) and imprisonment of many of them in different prison in Lagos State moved me to the street to know why my people are hawking in masses in every streets and highways in Lagos and major cities nationwide especially the underage who supposed to in school. I have gone to different places fighting for my people. I have spent a lot of money in trying to solve this problem. The outcome of my interview reveal the following among others: Visit youtube- Cemepia channel
 That they are not satisfied hawking on the streets and highways.
 That majority of them were trafficked from their rural dwellings to the city by unscrupulous and materialistic callous human traffickers who deceived their poor parents, secure their parental approval in some cases that they are taking them to the city to be apprentices, help them to continue their education or acquire skill only to force them into street hawking against their will as they arrived to the city.
 That they are willing to go back to school or acquire relevant skill but are of poor parents, neither their callous materialistic masters allow them to do any .
 That many of them are primary school dropout, few completed their basic education.
 That motor accident has claimed the lives of many of them and other hardships that associate with street and highway hawking in the metropolis of Lagos.
 That some of their callous masters treat them as slaves in their slum dwelling places in Lagos
 That many of them want to go back to their villages but their callous materialistic masters refused.
 That some of their handsets were sized by their masters as a restriction from contacting their parents at home.
 That some of the girls among them has become pregnant at the process but were abandoned by the callous materialistic child traffickers and they suffered untold hardship.
Our research, investigation and interview proved that over sixty per cent of street and highway hawkers in Lagos are indigenes of Ebonyi State Nigeria and majority of them are victims of human trafficking.
After series of interview and discovering the urgly conditions of my people, I hurried to Ebonyi State Liaison at Osborn Estate Ikoyi Lagos, fortunately, I met the liaison officer, after narrating the above stories to her, she startled, we have been receiving such report she said but there is a good news, our able governor, His Exellency Engr Dave Nweze Umahi has brought a program that he tagged from STREET to SKILL the objective and core aim of the program is eradicate street hawking among our people. I was very happy as I was invited to be part of the program. The liaison officer introduced Mr Andy Chukwu the coordinator of the program to me however the liaison officer requested that I should bring a letter from our office to feature our NGO to the project execution process which I wrote yet she never call us till date. On the process, I brought WORLD ECONOMIC POWER CHEMBER OF COMMERCE, JUSTICE AND RIGHTS FOUNDATION AND CEMEPIA AFRICA all the NGOs who were willing and ready to partner with Ebonyi State government to solve the hawking problem. The NGOs have written to Ebonyi State Governor and relevant ministries for partnership yet Ebonyi State government never answer them till date. We equally written to Lagos State relevant ministries, Lagos State Governor relied our letter, Lagos State Ministry of Local Government and Community Affairs invited us and the Speaker Lagos State House of Assembly invited us yet Ebonyi State Government are nowhere to be found to deliberate on how Lagos State can offer help to curb or eradicate the problem of child trafficking and forced labour that affect Ebonyi people in Lagos. Our purpose of involving Lagos State is to use their over 80 modern skill acquisition centres to rehabilitate our our people and use their influence to arrest and prosecute the perpetrators and finally end the menace in Lagos. As you are reading this article the are common in ever street in masses, little ones with items that is worth less than #1000 tracking all over Lagos- what a shame. The first meeting of Ebonyi people and publicity of the program took place at Ebonyi house Ikeja. We went to all the streets from Ikeja, Victoria Island, Lagos Island, Surulere, Ajah and Badagry . The pictures are still with me.
The second meeting was at Festac Town, Commissioner For Women Affairs And Poverty Alleviation, Commissioner For Youth And Sports Development, Secretary To Ebonyi State Government, Prominent Politicians, Ebonyi State Liaison, Program Coordinator, Mr Andy Chukwu, the Nollywood actor, chairman of Ebonyi State Development Association ESDA , one professor William ,ebonyians in Lagos, the street hawkers. Thousands of them registered skills of his or her choice. All the above mentioned persons affirmed and assured us that were sent by the governor, His Exellency Engr Dave Nweze Umahi and the project was real and the fund was available for the project, that it will never be business as usual .The third meeting took place at the National Stadiun Surulere Lagos.
Where is the three billion naira? If governor Dave Umahi can spent three billion without solving the street hawking problem, I vividly know that his administration is rooted in corruption and embezzlement of public fund if he can otherwise proved that that he utilized the fund for the purpose it was meant for.
OUR SUGGESTION TO GOVERNOR DAVE UMAHI AND OUR PROPOSED PROJECTS
 FREE COMPULSORY QUALITY BASIC EDUCATION: Ebonyi State government should declare free and compulsory quality education especially basic education ones. It must be free, quality and compulsory to those who fall within the school age in addition, quality skill acquisition centres should be attached to the secondary schools and taught skills of different type simultaneously with the formal education in order to equip the students with the skills and knowledge the need to be globally relevant after secondary school. Look practical skill is becoming more relevant globally than theory we believe here in Nigeria. Let us emulate United State and China. Go back to what senator Sam Egwe did when he was our governor. Many poor people who benefited from the free education of Sam Egwu and the university scholarships he offer impartially to poor had become successful and had conquered poverty in their families. I must at this point recognize and commend governor Dave Umahi for his vision and mission of road infrastructure and other areas you have performed very well in our dear state that proves that he is an engineer and engineer indeed.
 MASS MEDIA EDUCATION: National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) In partnership with Ebonyi government should host programmes on television and radio stations and other media available on this earth to thoroughly educate the masses in the language the best understood about human trafficking, the consequences to the victims and to the society at large. NAPTIP should lunch extensive campaign to the rural areas where most victims come from. They can collaborate with educational, NGOs, religious and traditional institutions to address this issue from the root. I personally have brought three different NGOs who are willing to help but Ebonyi State Liaison officer in Lagos blocked all of them for personal interest, during the 3 billion project fund, all the written documents are all at my possession as evidence that was why we stated to talk against the Governor as all our proposals were blocked by the said woman.
 RURAL AGRICULTURAL EDUCATION AND EMPOWERMENT: Majority of Child trafficking victims are rural area dwellers because they are children of poor farmers, Child traffickers take the advantage of their vulnerability- lure the poor parents and the children with empty promises and traffic their children to the city for enslavement . Ebonyi State ministry of agriculture and other related agencies of government should immediately go the rural areas, educate farmers on the latest method of practising agriculture and empower them with improved seed, fertilizers, insecticide, and high-tech farming equipment to practise modern farming so that the farmers can get enough farm produce, sell them and train their children to school in order to avoid Child trafficking and child labour
 PROSCUTION & PUNISHMENT OF CHILD T RAFFICKERS: National Agency Prohibition of Trafficking in Person (NAPTIP) has not only mandate to educate and rehabilitate it also has the power and responsibility to investigate, arrest and prosecute the suspect and follow it up until justice is done. We have already signed Mou with NAPTIP to help our people if our leaders will agree.
 SCHOLARSHIP TO THE BRILLANT POOR CHILDREN: Because corruption is rooted in the moral fabric of this great nation, especially in Ebonyi State scholarship is no more under meritocracy, rather, the public office holders in-charge will award the scholarships to their friends, families and relatives who are already rich and leave the poor to their fate. Scholarships should be awarded under meritocracy irrespective of social status and political affiliation of the parents of the beneficiaries. It must be in public schools only.
 REHABILITATION OF THE VICTIMS: Trafficking has several health implications to the public ranging from physical, mental as well as sexual. The sexual health effects involved undesirable conception, hepatitis long-term pelvic pain, HIV/AIDS along with high rates of abortion leading to the destruction of reproductive organs (United States Trafficking in person’s report) . Correspondingly, infertility, cervical cancer, as well as sexual trauma leading to hysterectomy (surgical removal of the uterus) are some of the complications state that the victims developed some mental conditions ranging from committing suicide, inability to sleep (insomnia) to drugs addiction ,further maintained that “the victims suffered anxiety, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorders.” Likewise, emotional neglect, the absence of parental guidance and care, violence within the self, alcoholic abuse, cigarette smoking, eating or tatting disorders and lack of trust are some of the mental health challenges ,some of the physical challenges of trafficked victims include; lack of vaccines, diseases of the mouth, tuberculosis, group rape and lack of nutrition. Moreover, the victims are subject to abuse ranging from constant punishment, murder, lack of care and its consequences, as well as the transfer of diseases Others are physical neglect which involved not providing appropriate clothing for the weather, educational neglect as well as organ harvesting. Furthermore. all body systems are affected in a trafficking situation. In addition to the three health implications mentioned by United States trafficking in person’s report, there is an also additional effect, this involved lack of shelter and work related hazards. Moreover, lack of shelter predisposes them to rape and other related abuses. Lastly, restriction of freedom regarding choice and decision-making is also a factor NAPTIP should give both physical and psychological rehabilitation to the victims of human trafficking. NAPTIP is ready to do their part if Ebonyi State will be willing to cooperate.
 PLACEMENT OF VALUE TO ALL CITIZENS: Ebonyi State Government should place high premium value on all their citizens irrespective of the their social, academic, material status etc. in fact Nigeria should emulate United States of America in placement of high premium value on all their citizens. Because child trafficking affect the children of poor farmer and other commoners in rural communities, government sometimes same to be reluctant to do their job because the subject matter did not affect the children of president, governors, inspector General of police, commissioners, ministers, ambassadors etc or other business magnets in the society. Ebonyi Government should always mobilize the security agencies and other related agencies to immediately tackle plights and problems affecting the poor masses.
 STATE TO STATE MEMORANDUM OF UNDERSTANDING ON THE SUBJECT MATTER (MOU) Lagos State and Ebonyi State government for example can reach MOU through their ministries of transports and other related agencies TO THOROUGHLY check the movement of underage within their boundaries as a means of controlling child trafficking.
 CAMPAIGN AGAINST HUMAN TRAFFICKING IN EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION/RURAL MARKET PLACE IN EBONYI STATE
We shall take the campaign against human trafficking to most public primary and secondary schools and rural market places in Ebonyi State with a written materials which will be shared to the students and parents free of charge in order to create awareness to the potential victims and parents.

We therefore use to medium to call on all good people of Nigeria and Africa at large to join us so as to solve this shameful problem.

Thank you all

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