The Niger Delta Royal Queens Forum
A group of women married to traditional rulers in the Niger Delta region called the Niger Delta Royal Queens Forum have protested against the rampant cases of rape, child defilement, human trafficking in the region as well as in the country.
The group is, therefore, demanding tougher sanctions to be imposed and also preventive measures to be implemented to curb the trend. They expressed sadness that many perpetrators of these sordid crimes are still roaming the streets even when they have been known to have such tendencies.
According to the royal queens, the criminal justice system in Nigeria allows the perpetrators of these crimes to get bail easily from the police or court and then return back to assimilate in the society to commit more atrocities.
Victims of Sex Trafficking
The women made their displeasure known in Yenogoa, Bayelsa state capital during the meeting of the Niger Delta Royal Queens Peace Building Summit 2018 titled ”An Enlightened Queen is an Enlightened Community”
The event which was the first of its kind in that part of the country witnessed participants from the states of Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers States.
At the end of the meeting, the queens issued a communiqué committing to the promotion and sustenance of peace in the region as well as the protection of the girl child, and youths, from abuses and deprivation.
Abuse of Children as Labourers
The communiqué was read by the founder and convener of the August meeting Queen Josephine Diette Spiff and supported by the secretary Queen Ugoeze Ohiri.
Excerpts from the communiqué read “that all royal queens advocate the education of the girl child and promote functional education to change the status of women and girls in the region and help engender peace.”
“That the Niger Delta Queens should be more proactive in supporting their husbands the kings in developing their domain.
“That the Niger Delta Queens says no to rape, defilement, trafficking, organs harvesting and abuse of orphanages”.
Also, present in the epoch-making event was the Director-General National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Dame Julie Okah-Donli. The Director-General in her remark disclosed that lack of education denies women of better opportunities in lives, exposes them to the danger of exploitation, abuses and early marriage.
Dame Donli lamented the increasing rate young boys and girls are being trafficked outside the country and appealed the various governments to accept back the trafficked returnees and to regard them as victims and not accused.
She singles out the states of Bayelsa, Edo, Rivers and Imo states as most affected by the menace of children trafficking. According to her, youths from these states most times find themselves in sex trafficking even beyond Italy to surrounding countries of Togo, Ghana, Mali and Gabon.
She, therefore, called on the Niger Delta Queens to join hands with various governments and fight the menace by becoming more vigilant and concern about the welfare and progress of youths especially young girls in their domain.