As the year, 2021, winds to a close, Nigerians will readily reflect on it as one of the worst in the annals of the nation’s history.
It was a year Nigerians faced numerous security problems, with a number of challenges that were unprecedented in the history of the nation.
The nation also encountered economic challenges, with prices of food skyrocketing beyond the reach of the people, and in the process increasing the poverty level of the country which has been dubbed infamously as the “Poverty Capital of the World” for the past three years .
Prices of staple food like rice, beans, garri, yams, etc increased by more than 100 pr-cent within the year. On the front burner of the security challenges was the insurgency war in the North East which has been going on for more than eleven years, spearheaded by Boko Haram and the Islamic State for the West African Province(ISWAP).
Boko Haram alone accounted for more than 35,000 deaths in the North East region alone. But for the heroics of the nation’s military men and women, the story would have been worse.
To their credit, their fire power was so significant in the year that thousands of the insurgents surrendered to the nation’s Military. We therefore salute the gallantry of the men and officers of the nation’s Armed Forces for combating the twin insurgency groups whose operations have been reduced from states like Yobe, Adamawa, but now consigned to the Lake Chad Region .
We are therefore advocating increased budgeting and financing for the Military to enable them finish the war of attrition against the nation, in the New Year.
Closely related to this was the increasing rate and frequency banditry and kidnapping took tolls on the nation, especially the Northern part of the country. States like Kaduna, Zamfara,Katsina, and Sokoto were the worst affected. Some of these bandits have been linked to fleeing insurgents from the North East, , and the need for the Federal Government to take counter measures to halt their spread becomes inevitable. Sadly school children and their teachers were targets of these unlawful elements.
The United Nations Children and Education Fund, UNICEF, disclosed that about 1,436 school children and 17 teachers were abducted from Nigeria schools between December 2020 and October 2021. It also disclosed that about 16 school children lost their lives in the process of their abduction within the same period.
Speaking in similar Save the Children International, a non-governmental organisation (NGO), said increasing cases of attacks on schools between 2020 and 2021 led to many schools being shut, thereby putting the education system of the country at “extreme risk.” Mercy Gichuhi, Country Director, of the NGO stated this in the event to mark the world second International Day to Protect Education from Attacks.
Mercy Gichuchi its director in Nigeria noted that “When education is under attack, a generation is attacked, and that girls and women were more vulnerable at times of attack putting them at a higher risk of trauma, fear, gender-based violence, physical and sexual abuse.Many cases of attacks by gunmen were on schools in Kaduna, Katsina, Kebbi, Zamfara and Niger states, during which hundreds of students were abducted for ransom.
She further noted with concern that between 2015-2019, there were 100 reported attacks on schools in Nigeria. And that these attacks have been on the increase between 2020 and 2021, which led to the closedown of many schools by the government due to fear of being attacked,” she said.
She revealed , that the Democratic Republic of Congo, [DRC], Nigeria, Somalia, Afghanistan, South Sudan, Sudan, Mali, and Libya have education systems that were at “extreme risk” while Syria and Yemen followed closely behind.
The South East region of the country was also a boiling point in the year that is coming to an end with security problems traced to the Indigenous People of Biafra[IPOB] and its affiliate, Eastern Security Network(ESN).
Hundreds of civilians and and security personnel lost their lives in some of the skirmishes in the area, caused mainly as a result of trouble between the people of the area and herders.
While bidding farewell to 2021 with its numerous challenges, and difficulties witnessed by Nigerians, we are calling on the Federal Government to rise up and work towards making life meaningful for the citizens. Of greater concern is the issue of security, which has to be addressed with all seriousness to make the country safer and better place in 2022.
Ending the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria
By Shirgba Rosemary Awashima
The spate of human trafficking is becoming a big concern. Trafficking in persons is one of the most lucrative criminal markets globally.
In Nigeria, the trafficking in person by both domestic and cross-border method is taking a new dimension despite federal government effort to curbing the ugly trend.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been making efforts to ensure trafficking cases are being investigated in close collaboration with other law enforcement agencies but more need to be done given then Nigerian citizens, especially girls are being affected.
There is no doubt that modern slavery is real and trafficking very much around us. Young people are dying daily and destinies being wasted.
Recently, luck ran out of a lady at Duku park in Makurdi, the Benue state capital (name withheld) why trying to traffick some girls in the name of given then better jobs in the city.
When asked about the lady who was trafficking them to Lagos, “The victims said a phone call was put across to them to call the lady in question and move with her to Lagos for a better life.” They added that some of them would move to even farther and better locations like Benin Republic, Togo, Mali, Burkina Faso, etc.
Sadly, there was one number for all of them as their next of kins.
Speaking on the issue, a human right activist, Ukan Kurugh urged the management of transportation companies to be more proactive in their dealings with would be passengers because this has been ongoing for long now, and for a fact one is caught, many are around still.
He said, “The Nigerian Government indeed have a long way to go on trafficking. Modern slavery is real and young people, boys and girls need to know that, some of the area Uncles and Aunties that come with supposed help in one hand, have very big trouble in the other.
“Parents too need to be on the lookout and Please the government must check the borders, the situation is already terrible,” he added.
Although, the girls were lucky to have escape the trafficking, so many people are being lured into believing that they are being taken in the city or abroad in search of a greener pasture only to be turned into sex slaves and other means of exploitation.
Few days ago, the Nigerian Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Ramatu Ahmed said no fewer than 10,000 Nigerian girls are forced into prostitution in Burkina Faso.
Ahmed went ahead to say the victims of sex-trade were mainly underage girls kept in appalling conditions in Ouagadougou and in mining camps across the West African country.
Ahmed who had been in Burkina Faso since August 2017, said that over 200 Nigerian girls had been voluntarily repatriated this year.
According to the Ambassador, many of the girls who were promised jobs in the country and Europe by the human traffickers are not willing to return home.
She was quoted saying, “The spate of human trafficking here in Burkina Faso is a big concern to the embassy because at present, we have nothing less than 10,00 Nigerian girls who have been trafficked into Burkina Faso as commercial sex workers and most of these girls are underage, most left school and are roaming about doing commercial sex work in Burkina Faso.
“This apart from been a dent to our country, it is also a sort of concern as far as their health is concerned, This is very serious to us and most of the girls who wants to go back as a result this voluntary repatriation do it because they were tricked, they did not know the condition there are going to found themselves here.
Awashima is a Mass Communication student of Abubakar Tatari Ali polytechnic Bauchi
Obadiah Mailafia[December 24, 1956-September 19,2021]
His controversial death on September 19, of this illustrious son of Nigeria came as a great shock to the nation. Obadiah Mailafia until his demise over allegations of poor attention from the various hospitals he was taken to was a development economist, international polymath, central banker, statesman ; the 2019 Nigeria Presidential election candidate of African Democratic Congress (ADC), and a columnist with some of the national newspapers.
The Northern Governors Forum[NGF] has described his death as a great loss to the nation as well as the entire Northern region.
In a statement , the Chairman of the Forum and Governor of Plateau State, Simon Lalong said the death of Dr Mailafiya is a sad development not only to his family, but to the nation because of his enormous contributions to the socio-economic pursuits of Nigeria.He said: “The legacies of Dr Mailafiya will continue to be celebrated as he showed passion for development, emancipation, truth, justice and equity in all his interventions at various platforms.”Also, the Benue State Governor, Samuel Ortom, described the demise of the renowned banker as a great loss. Gov. Ortom said the nation will greatly miss the contributions of Mailafia in the economic and political spheres of Nigeria, particularly at a time the country needs patriots in tackling the myriad of challenges confronting it. No doubt Mailafia will be greatly missed.
Children as Victims of Insurgency
Nigerian children are passing through one of their most trying times in the nation’s history. Hardly does any day passes without reports of these young ones usually referred to as the leaders of tomorrow being kidnapped, raped and even killed by bandits and terrorists in a society that is losing its moral direction.
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