Oba Ewuare II, the traditional ruler of the Kingdom of Benin in Edo State in southern Nigeria, has ordered the revoking of all “curses placed on victims of human trafficking and to curse human traffickers instead” in order to “protect vulnerable migrants” seeking to invade Europe.
News of the “curse lifting” was carried in the International Organization for Migration’s (IOM) report of the latest developments in the ongoing saga of the Nigerian invasion of Europe, titled “Cursed or Blessed? Nigerian Victims Of Trafficking Can Finally Break The Oath.”
According to that report, for the past three years, the majority of invaders landing in Italy by sea were Nigerian, and 59 percent of “all victims of trafficking (VoT) assisted by IOM” in 2016 were Nigerians. The IOM said it “estimates that a staggering 80 per cent of Nigerian women and girls arriving by sea that year were trafficked for sexual exploitation.”
In addition to paying large sums of money to their traffickers, “Nigerian VoTs often submitted to a voodoo rite which bound them by ‘contract’ to their traffickers,” the IOM report continued.
“The so-called contract, among other things, prohibits victims from revealing the names of their traffickers and other details that may lead to the identification of exploiters?—?victims are too scared to break it because they are made to fear that ‘bad things’ will happen to them and their families if they do.”
Most of the females (94 per cent) are from Edo State in southern Nigeria, and hence the intervention by Oba Ewuare II.
“Fear of breaking the voodoo oath is an element of subordination which deeply affects the victims of trafficking. The hope is that the Oba’s decision will empower victims to come forward and seek assistance which the federal and state governments work to provide with the support of partners, including IOM,” the report added.
The Iyase of Benin Chief Sam Igbe, who is the Oba’s Prime Minister, recently said in an interview with IOM in Benin City (Edo State): “Everything that considers itself juju (spiritually negative) is under the power of the Oba. It will not work if the Oba says it will not work. When it became a problem for everybody, the Oba decided to make it plain to everyone, the traffickers and the trafficked and their families, that the juju threats should stop and if they do not stop, anyone who engages in it will have himself to blame.”
The IOM report added matter-of-factly that it “is also expected that by putting a curse on traffickers, fewer people will be willing to engage in the dangerous albeit lucrative business that is human trafficking.”
* The Charge D’ Affairs, Nigeria Mission to Libya, Alex Kefas, this week announced that another 165 “stranded Nigerian irregular migrants” were “evacuated from Libya by the Federal Government” with the assistance of the IOM.
Kefas added that 1,700 Nigerians were serving various jail terms in prison in Libya for assorted crimes.
He added that the so far some 3,801 “irregular migrants” had been flown home in the “last few months.”