Curbing Human Trafficking Through Intelligence Gathering in Nigeria



Globally acknowledged as a high-profit but low-risk criminal activity, human trafficking has unfortunately gained attention as the modern-day form of slavery that is expanding in scale with damaging repercussions on humanity and nations’ economic lives.

And going by the definition that; “Human Trafficking is the recruitment, transportation, transfer, harbouring or receipt of people through force, fraud or deception, with the aim of exploiting them for profit”, it is currently ranked among the fastest growing criminal activities across the globe, comparable to the smuggling of firearms that is considered the second most organized criminal network worldwide.

In recent times, with different interpretations by national governments and experts in criminology, human trafficking has generated a great deal of concerns among stakeholders because of its adverse impact on social lives and the human race.

The threat is becoming more alarming in Nigeria with sordid tales by returnees from Libya and Italy among other foreign countries. Unfortunately, men, women and children of all ages and from all backgrounds have become victims of this crime, which occurs in every region of the world.

And being a transnational crime that is fast ruining the country’s image within the African continent and beyond, this criminal activity has continued to degrade and dehumanise the victims; fuel public sector corruption and irregular migration; aid the spread of COVID-19, HIV/AIDS, and other communicable diseases while also promoting money laundering and other financial crimes that clearly distort the nation’s economy.

Regrettably, parents and guardians have become too busy and sometimes so uncaring to effectively monitor the activities of their children and wards or even notice the glaring antics and pranks that are obviously risk-infested and portend danger to themselves and the immediate family.

A situation where children, teenagers, youths and even adults, embark on irrelevant expeditions, secret trips and visits without, but sometimes with, the knowledge of their parents or other family members have been identified as one of the major risk factors that have made many vulnerable while exposing them and their loved ones to avoidable hurt.

Painfully, in their overzealousness, many have deliberately ignored the security tips and public advisory regularly issued by the Department of State Services (DSS) and other law enforcement agencies that urge caution by members of the public, specifically applicants to always guard against falling prey to so-called juicy jobs’ adverts that do not contain comprehensive information on location, specifications and schedules; shun the temptation of subscribing to vague visas and overseas travel promotions that could be the handiwork of human traffickers and scammers or their agents.

Importantly too, verifying information before acting on any calls about untoward incidents involving family members, colleagues, relatives or friends cannot be overstressed; just as the need to careful visiting new friends or meeting colleagues at unfamiliar or unspecified locations; and restraint in dishing out and advertising vital personal information on social media platforms.

Similarly, stories are abound where some individuals have inadvertently exposed themselves to danger by standing in as guarantors and sureties for people who may have changed over time, thereby becoming agents that aid and abet the criminal activities of society’s bad eggs.

Given the sophistication, secrecy and ‘value chain’ in organised crime which human trafficking has evidently become, synergy among security and law enforcement agencies as well as partnership with the public cannot be overemphasized. However, making the matter a bit more complicated is the fact that some unscrupulous elements within the security agencies and even greedy parents and relations are supportive and in cohort with those perpetuating this criminal activity across the country.

With the way things are going globally, adopting Information and Communication Technology (ICT) to combat human trafficking should also be the way to go by the Nigerian authorities. Though no technology can be termed perfect or full proof, there is no denying the fact that with conscious efforts, any technology, would over time, evolve with improvement to make it more relevant and responsive in tackling existing as well as emerging challenges associated with this modern day ‘slave trade’ and other related crimes.

Pointedly, security agencies like the DSS have not relented in their collaboration with relevant government establishments to give human trafficking syndicates tough times running their criminal activities. In January this year, the Service was on hand assisting NAPTIP to rescue a Burundian woman and her three children from traffickers in Umunoha village, Mbaitoli Council of Imo State where they were being held captive and exploited.

The victims were rescued during a sting operation carried out on their holding mud house by the combined team of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Department of State Services (DSS). Thanks to a tipoff by the United Nations High Commission for Refugees (UNHCR), the four foreigners duly regained their freedom from where they were cramped under inhuman conditions.

Without making much fuss about it in the public domain, the Service has continued to play active part in bursting child trafficking syndicates across the country with its various State Commands recording huge success in stemming the tide of their criminal activities.

Recalled an incident on July 6, 2015 where four suspects were arrested and the victims, comprising 12 males and 24 females, rescued from homes in Yenagoa and Kaiama in Bayelsa, Port Harcourt, and Enugu-Agidi in Anambra, having been forcefully turned into house helps.

As indicated in their public advisory, most disturbing is the fact that the suspected syndicates sometimes operate under the guise of Non-Governmental Organizations (NGOs) that usually approach parents and convinced them to release their wards under the pretext of assisting the children to acquire good education only for such kids to end up as house helps and sometimes worst as sex slaves.

Forward looking, it is important to support the position canvassed by many well-meaning individuals and groups that human trafficking offenders and perpetrators should serve sentences commensurable with the magnitude of offences committed to send the appropriate message as a major deterrent to culprits.

Concerns have also arisen that a situation where some offenders often escape justice with light sentencing has led to cases of repeat offenders now posing a grave danger to the dimension of human trafficking in the Country.

Therefore, continuous citizens’ sensitization and awareness creation on how to curb the menace are very crucial. This is against the backdrop that the inherent fear of reprisals cannot be ignored since many victims and their families are afraid to come forward and incident cases, amid the limited enforcement resources and shifting legislation coherent enough to address this thriving crime.

Hammering on the need for continuous enlightenment and sensitisation in the local communities nationwide, one DSS official said; “There is need therefore for members of the public to be sensitized on the need to be circumspect in the way they give out children or take in children from such unscrupulous modern day slave traders.”

Certainly, these routes are the way to go in effectively addressing operational and other existing challenges in the fight against human trafficking.

On the whole, relevant government establishments like NAPTIP, security and law enforcement agencies, the judiciary and Intelligence Community, Civil Society Organisations (CSOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and traditional institutions as well as international bodies must embrace and deploy robust partnership as a strategy to check and eventually suppress the crime of human trafficking in the country.

With subdued optimism, this collaboration should help calm the frayed nerves and broken spirit of most victims, always left in a pitiable traumatic state to nurse wounds inflicted on them by heartless and exploitative traffickers, who often are erroneously or unintentionally pampered with light sentencing by the courts.

So the ball is in the court of judicial officers to compliment the works of security and related agencies by always considering the victims’ plight and exploitation in deciding cases of human trafficking rather than over relying on the salient technicalities that often deny them adequate justice.

Zulum opens 2 roads for London Ciki, Ngomari communities

The Borno state governor, Babagana Umara Zulum, Monday commissioned two roads covering 5.8 kilometers with drainages at London-ciki and Ngomari communities in Jere local government areas in the metropolis.

The roads comprise newly constructed 2.1 km road and drainage in Zannari road and rehabilitated 626 meters Shiekh Abba Aji road,both in London-ciki.

It also included 3.1 kilometer Bintu-Sugar road and drainage in Ngomari.

Speaking at both commissioning sites, Governor Zulum dedicated the roads to the glory of God and humanity.

He enjoined benefiting communities to ensure proper use of the project with a pledge that his administration will work to fulfill all the campaign promises made.


How my husband abducted our one year old twin children – Wife

Armed soldiers, allegedly accompanied by a former member of the House of Representatives who represented Oron federal constituency in Akwa Ibom state, Hon Robinson Uwak, have forcefully seize and taken away twins children in Calabar.

The one year old twins are reportedly Hon Uwak’s.

His estranged wife, Mrs Kezie Uwak (nee Irek) had relocated from Uwak’s apartment in Abuja to her parents’ house at Victory Road Calabar after reportedly being subjected to all sorts of alleged inhuman treatment, torture and confinement.

The marriage, it was gathered, was consummated in 2020 but sources close to the in-law’s family in Calabar alleged that, Kezie, since after walking down the aisle, has received several threats to her life.

Apparently angered by his wife’s unexpected escape with the twin children of a boy and a girl, Hon Uwak allegedly stormed her in-law’s residence in a commando style, in the company of soldiers and plain clothes security men and allegedly ‘abducted’ the one-year-old kids and zoomed off.

Speaking with Journalists at the NUJ secretariat in Calabar, Monday, Kezia Robinson Awak, accused her husband of being behind the abduction.

She said: “At about 8:57am, someone knocked on our door and my younger sister went to check who was there when the door was violently pushed open.

“Suddenly, we saw a lot of armed masked men on military uniform and Mr. Robinson was also with them and wore a face mask. We heard him direct the army to take the children and then promised that he would deal with my whole family.

“He violently flung the children into a waiting Hilux van and then they drove away. I am terrified he can harm them because he has boasted on several occasions that he has the capacity to pay the police and army to perpetuate his acts.

“I have suffered terribly in Hon Robinson Uwak’s hands. The society and women group should please rise up and defend me. I have been abused, bruised and tortured and that is why I ran away from Abuja to stay with my parents in Calabar.

“Here again in Calabar, he came and violently took my children away. He has also abused and publicly embarrassed my parents and my parents using his influence in the society.”

However, the accused has denied abducting his children.

When contacted through his mobile line, Uwak said he was not aware of the matter, and abruptly dropped the call.

But the mother to the embattled lady, Mrs Riseline Irek, said the matter had been reported to Airport Police Station, Calabar.

The Police Public Relations Officer for the State command, Irene Ugbo, when contacted also, said the matter was yet to come to her table at the Police Headquarters, Diamond Hill, Calabar.


Npower: FG gives update on physical verification for batch C2 beneficiaries

The management of Npower has extended the Batch C stream 2 physical verification closing date by three days.

This was disclosed by the Special Assistant to Minister of Humanitarian affairs on media and publicity, Nneka Ikem.

According to her, the ongoing Npower Batch C2 physical verification exercise earlier billed to end Saturday, June 25, has been extended by three days, commencing Monday, June 27 to Wednesday, June 29.

In addition to this extension, applicants should note the following:

1) Pre-selected applicants are advised to key into this Verification Extension.

2) N-TECH program doesn’t require physical verification, kindly be patient as you will be assigned to a training center soon. N-Power said.

3) Shortlisted does not mean that you are selected for the physical verification, you have to be selected as a beneficiary in order to qualify for Npower physical verification.

Beneficiaries who their status shows preselected, should take the advantage of the physical verification extension to do their physical verification.


Ekweremadu faces more hard times over organ harvesting allegations

The University of Lincoln, United Kingdom, has banned Senator Ike Ekweremadu who it recently appointed a visiting professor of Corporate and International Linkages.

This followed Thursday’s arrest and subsequent arraignment of Ekweremadu and his wife, Beatrice, in London for alleged conspiracy to harvest the kidney of 15 years old Ukpo Nwamini David.

David, according to the prosecution, was trafficked from Nigeria and entered the UK with the passport of a 41-year-old man.

The London Mail on Friday quoted the university’s spokesperson as saying that Ekweremadu’s duties at the institution have been suspended for the time being.

Visiting professors are often, as is in this case, non-resident at the university, unpaid and advisory,” the university’s spokesperson said.

“We are deeply concerned about the nature of these allegations, but as this is an active police investigation, we cannot comment further at this stage.

“Whilst this matter is subject to investigation, this person will not be undertaking any duties as visiting professor at Lincoln.

Ekweremadu had, soon after the university appointment two weeks ago, tweeted: “It was a pleasure and an honour to receive a letter of appointment by the University of Lincoln, UK, as Visiting Professor of Corporate and International Linkages.

“I also got a highly treasured gift – a copy of the Magna Carta. It was created in 1215, about 807 years ago.”

David, the teenager at the centre of the organ harvesting allegation, is said to have entered the United Kingdom (UK) with his age put at 41 years.

The London Mail, in a report yesterday, said David also did not know that he was taken to London for the purpose of donating his kidney.


APP threatens to drag Tinubu to Court over alleged irregularities in documents

The Action Peoples Party (APP) will on Monday drag the presidential candidate of All Progressive Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu to court to challenge his academic qualification to stand for the 2023 election.

The decision, according to APP, followed alleged irregularities in the academic qualification and documents submitted by Tinubu to the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

The chairman of the party, Uche Nnadi, who disclosed this on Friday, added that the party has enough facts to nail TinubuRecall that INEC had on Friday published the list of candidates to contest the 2023 election.

According to the APP Chairman, APC candidate Tinubu is not eligible to contest as his forms contain alleged false information.

Tinubu denied attending Primary and Secondary but claims a university degree in the new INEC forms published on Friday.

The APP Chairman said that Tinubu commits perjury as he abandons his earlier claim of attending primary school, sworn in an affidavit to run for governor but now claims not to have attended primary school.

Tinubu’s new forms, he said contradicted his 2007 affidavit that he has primary school and secondary.

“Tinubu’s new declaration in new INEC forms of not attending primary and secondary school is false information, in view of earlier nomination forms of 2007 on oath containing alleged controversial primary and secondary schools he claimed to have,” he said.


Why APC Should Pick Dogara as Tinubu’s Running Mate – Arewa Group

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

A Northern group, under the auspice of Coalition for Peace and Progress, at the weekend urged the All Progressives Congress (APC), to chose former Speaker of tge Nigeria House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, as the running mate to Bola Tinubu, her Presidential candidate for the 2023 election.

National Coordinator of the group, Dr. Muhammad Chindo, at a press conference in Kaduna, noted the party needs someone who is credible, capable and acceptable that has the required qualities and political experience to manage the diverse nature of thr country along with the President.

“Above all, it is imperative that the future Vice President must be a Christian who could transcend primordial sentiments bordering on religion, and the twin evils of tribalism and sectionalism.

“Such a person must also be a good Christian who could promote the cause of unity and togetherness among the diverse and heterogeneous citizens of our great country. After a thorough, painstaking search, and in furtherance of our avowed commitment and dedication to the noble cause of ensuring a united Nigeria, we of the COALITION FOR PEACE AND PROGRESS have unanimously come to the conclusion that the best person most suited to hold the position of the future Vice President under the APC is none other than the RT Honourable Yakubu Dogara, former Speaker of the Federal House of Representatives of Nigeria.

“In arriving at our decision to pick RT Honourable Yakubu Dogara as running mate to Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the coalition has taken considerations on a number of factors; As a member of the Federal House of Representatives and Speaker of the Honourable House from 2007 until he voluntarily agreed to step down, Dogara has the required political experience and knowledge more than any other possible choice currently being proposed

“RT Honourable Yakubu Dogara is a grassroot politician who was tested and trusted by the people of his constituency, who had the honour and privilege to be elected for consecutive four terms.

“RT Honourable Yakubu Dogara is a bridge builder whose compassionate love for the progress of humanity is unprecedented. He has always enjoy the trust and confidence of the people of his constituency of Dass/Tafawa Balewa/Bogoro, a constituency that is made up of diverse people who belong to different religions and tribe. Only a tolerant, accommodating and considerate person of no mean standing could command the respect, love, loyalty and support of a people. Even though a good Christian, Dogara has renovated various mosques belonging to Muslims in his constituency, and he remains the highest contributor to the sharing of Ramadan palliatives and cows/rams during Ed Kabir Sallah festivals in Bauchi State. In this regard, RT Honourable Dogara contribute more to Muslims than to his Christian brothers and sisters.

“As a patriotic and great philanthropist, and a visionary full of enthusiasm for the progress and development of humanity Dogara once had to step down from the exalted seat as Speaker to move a motion for the establishment of the NORTH EAST DEVELOPMENT COMMISSION.

“As a matter of fact, the North East Development Commissioner’s baby cht Dogara’s large-heartedness and kind nature, are responsible for his concern and pity for the multitude of of Internally displaced persons spread across the North East and Abuja. They are beneficiaries of his frequent visits and subsequent gifts and donations in their various camps.

“The office of the Vice President of Nigeria requires a cool-headed, humble, loyal and trustworthy individual who will give the required constant support and encouragement to the President at all times. It is on record that RT Honourable Yakubu Dogara has always been a reliable fellow in his dealings with others especially on matters of State and National interests. Throughout his exciting tenure at the National Assembly, it was such noble qualities he exhibited that made him to be legendary and unique for all time to come.” He said.

Anambra school pupils reject promotion due to school feeding programme

The Programme Manager, National Homegrown School Feeding Scheme in Anambra state, Mrs Eriken Uzoamaka, has lamented that pupils across public primary schools in the state were rejecting promotion to senior classes.

Uzoamaka, who explained that the class 3 pupils in public primary schools usually kick against promotion to primary 4 due to the menu being served them while in classes 1 – 3 every school working day, noted that efforts were on ground to solve the challenge.

She disclosed this at Awka, the Anambra state capital, after a two-day capacity building workshop on Enhancing Social Protection Programme in Nigeria, organised by the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ).

“We serve rich food to pupils in classes 1 to 3 as captured in the national homegrown school feeding scheme. That is why even those that agree to be promoted usually come to their junior class (primary 3) especially on Wednesdays to struggle for food with others. We serve beans and plantains (or with sweet potatoes) that day,” she noted.

Uzoamaka also listed other challenges facing the programme in the state to include hike in prices of commodities and death of 10 cooks, which according to her has made it impossible for affected schools to benefit because new cooks were yet to be employed by the federal government.


I’m not interested in another term, Buhari tells UK PM Boris Johnson

President Muhammadu Buhari, on Thursday held a bilateral meeting with Prime Minister of Great Britain on the margins of the 26th Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting (CHOGM) in Kigali, Rwanda, during which he once again reiterated his resolve to respect the maximum term limit in the Nigerian Constitution.

The Prime Minister, obviously not quite familiar with the maximum two terms limit, had asked if President Buhari would run for office again. To which the latter responded: “Another term for me? No! The first person who tried it didn’t end very well.” (General laughter)

On the leader of the proscribed Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), Nnamdi Kanu, not being allowed to see his lawyers privately, the President dispelled such insinuation, saying the detained separatist was being given every opportunity under the law “to justify all the uncomplimentary things he had been saying against Nigeria in Britain.”

He said: “He felt very safe in Britain, and said awful things against Nigeria. We eventually got him when he stepped out of the United Kingdom, and we sent him to court.

“Let him defend all that he has said there. His lawyers have access to him. Remember he jumped bail before, how are we sure he won’t do it again, if he’s admitted to bail?”

On the keenness expressed by the Prime Minister to help Nigeria in the area of security, the President said helping to stabilize Libya could be an initial good step, as the fall of Muammar Gadaffi after 42 years in power unleashed his armed guards on countries in the Sahel, “and they are causing havoc everywhere, as the only thing they know how to do is to shoot guns.”

On Boko Haram insurgency, the President said there was serious effort to educate the people on the fact that only an unserious person could kill innocent people, “and say Allah Akbar (God is Great).”

“God is justice. You can’t take innocent souls, and ascribe it to God. And the education process is working, the people now understand Boko Haram as anti-God, and not about religion,” he said.

Prime Minister Johnson said he was delighted about the good news on trade between the two countries, adding that the UK was further reducing tariffs on some goods going to Nigeria.

He described the relationship between the countries as “very strong attachment,” adding: “I just want to be sure that we are doing enough. It’s a massive partnership for us, and we need to capitalise on it.”

The Prime Minister offered condolences on some recent attacks in Nigeria, particularly on churches.


FG, SFH, Catholic Relief Services to Commence Distribution of 5.4 Treated Mosquito Nets in Kaduna

By Uangbaoje Alex, Kaduna

The Federal Ministry of Health and Society for Family Health in partnership with Catholic Relief Services are set to commence the distribution of 5.4 million Insecticide Treated Mosquito Nets (ITNs) across 23 Local Government Areas in Kaduna State.

Kaduna State Health Educator officer, Maryam Kure, disclosed this at a one-day media orientation meeting aimed at securing media support to promote and provide adequate publicity for the campaigns.

She emphasized the need for the media to focus mainly on creating awareness on the use of Insecticide Treated Nets (ITNs).

Mrs. Kure, revealed that the household registration and distribution of the nets will commence on 7th July and end on 18 July, 2022.

SFH, Director Technical and Programs, Mr John Ocholi, who also solicits media partnership in educating the general public on the importance of putting the treated nets to use, revealed that the malaria prevention intervention in the saw 5.1 million nets distributed in 2019.

According to Omo-Eboh Mamudu, a representative of the National Malaria Elimination Program (NMEP) of the Federal Ministry of Health, malaria which is the world highest killer disease, need to be given adequate media attention to help save lives.

He explained that the objective of the ITN mass campaign is to ensure that every two persons per household in Kaduna receive a net which according to him will be distributed through a door-to-door approach across all LGAs in the State.

Mamudu, assured that even areas facing serious security challenges will get the nets as no one or places are left out of the campaigns, saying “we can find a way to get around it, our nets will get there.

“We have estimated the number of nets needed based on projections to the 2006 census figures”.