By Lucky Isibor
The Oba of Benin, Omo N’Oba N’Edo, Oba Ewuare II, has placed curse on perpetrators of human trafficking and their collaborators including native doctors and priests who administer oath of secrecy on victims.
The Oba placed the curse Friday, in Benin City while meeting with Enogie, Edionwere, priests of different deities in Benin and native doctors at his palace.
The monarch who said the oath of secrecy administered on the victims has been encouraging the illegal trade called on all native doctors to shun the act and join hands with the palace to attract development and progress to the kingdom.
“It is reported that at the beginning the traffickers take their victims to native doctors to take oath that they will not disclose the names of their traffickers and sponsors.
“Your power is to fight for the progress of Benin kingdom and not to be used for the destruction of our young people”.
The monarch who also invoked his power as the spiritual leader of Benin kingdom nullified all the oaths of secrecy administered on all victims of human trafficking and urged them to speak out and seek assistance.
While disclosing that statistics from relevant agencies reveal that most of those trafficked in Nigeria are from Benin, Oba Ewuare deplored the practice where gainfully employed artisans sell their working tools to pay their traffickers.
“We have some people gainfully employed as mechanics, welders, tailors, selling their working tools to pay traffickers to take them to Italy, Germany.
“Those who traffic people to Italy, Germany and other countries first take them to Libya where they are enslaved”.
He urged the native doctors to tell all victims of human trafficking to speak out as all oaths of secrecy have been norlified.
“From today, we no longer want to hear of human trafficking in Benin. I hope those who have been involved in this illegal trade will stop from today.
“All native doctors who have administered oath of secrecy on victims of human trafficking should also tell those they administered such oath on to speak out.
“Am appealing to all native doctors to stop administering such oaths on trafficked victims and all such oaths are hereby nullified.
“No native doctor should do any charm for any potential illegal migrant to cross international border. Those who did it before now are forgiven and whoever does it from today will face the wrought of our ancestors”, the monarch warned.
Speaking with news men after the royal pronouncement, zonal commander, National Agency for the Prohibition in Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Barrister Nduka Nwanwennee pointed out that the Oba’s intervention is a significant milestone in the war against human trafficking and illegal migration.
“Before now, victims of human trafficking rarely open up to give evidence in court because of they have taken. They are afraid and believe that the oath will have effect on them as the native doctors who administered such oaths have their personal items like finger nails, pubic hair, menstrural pads, pants, photographs etc.
“Now that those oaths have been nullified by the monarch, our power of prosecution has been enhanced and we can now rescue more victims,” he said.
Also speaking, the Enogie of Ukhiri, His Royal Highness, Godwin Aigbe thanked Oba Ewuare 11 for the royal pronouncement and urge the Edo State House of Assembly to complement the Oba’s efforts by enacting a law with stiff penalties for offenders.