By Daud Olatunji
The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, on Monday, canvassed reforms and an end to human trafficking, especially of the girl-child.
Ogunwusi said this while speaking at a press briefing held to herald the #SayNoToSlavery campaign being championed by Damilola Falomo, a victim of human trafficking.
Falomo, who was reportedly trafficked to Oman is leading the campaign against human trafficking, especially of the girl-child through her foundation.
Ooni spoke through the mother of culture in Ife, Sanni Omogbolabo, while addressing newsmen in Abeokuta.
The monarch advocated stiffer punishment for human traffickers, saying tackling the menace must go beyond just setting aside a day to celebrate “human trafficking day”.
The monarch said he and his queen, Olori Aderonke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi, have been advocating compulsory girl-child education through the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative to tackle the trafficking of the girl-child.
He said, “Over the years, I have taken it upon myself to fight this scourge to a standstill, and through the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative, see to the overall growth, well-being, and development of our children.
“I believe in addressing human trafficking and slavery amongst our people, as attention should not only be called to it only on days set aside to celebrate the day, but rather, concerted efforts towards engaging key stakeholders; as often as possible.
“To this end, a nationwide campaign on putting an end to human trafficking and slavery is been anchored by the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative and thousands of girls and women were recipients of the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative Entrepreneurship Grant.
“No doubt, if the girl-child is neglected in society, it might result in the destruction of the entire nation. These girls will then be exposed to all manner of social vices.
“It is my hope that both the public and private sectors will continually invest in the girl-child for sustainable development in the country.
“If we don’t invest in the girl-child, we are not investing in our nation.
“For me, the education of the girl-child remains paramount. Every girl child should have more opportunities to go to school, and that is why the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Education Grant was set up to help indigent students.
“I am extremely proud of the woman, Damilola Falomo is becoming. Like any other girl, she was trafficked to Oman and miraculously found her way back to Nigeria.
“Upon hearing her story, she became a beneficiary of the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative Grant. Today she is a better person, now propagating and leading the campaign against human trafficking.
“It is my hope that both the public and private sectors will continually invest in the girl-child for sustainable development in the country.”
Falomo in her remarks said human trafficking poses a grave danger to the social and economic development of the country.
She lamented that thousands of Nigerian girls were trafficked overseas, especially in Arab countries, and are forced into the commercial sex trade or forced labour.
Source: The Punch