By Uwakmfon Dan
Akwa Ibom has been named as one of the states in Nigeria severely affected by Child Abuse.
Chairman of the Akwa Ibom State Taskforce on Human Trafficking, Barr. Emem Ette, disclosed this on Wednesday, during a Stakeholders and Media Dialogue on Child Trafficking and Abuse in Nigeria, held at Watbridge Hotel, Uyo.
Barr. Ette while speaking at the event jointly organised by the Youth Alive Foundation (YAF) Africa, in collaboration with the Akwa Ibom State Taskforce on Human Trafficking, hinted that children between ages eight and 18 were mostly used for prostitution in the state.
She named Obot Akara, Ikot Ekpene and Essien Udim as some of the local government areas where prostitution was mostly perpetuated in the state.
“Child abuse and trafficking is one of the horrific and terrifying social problems all over the the world. Sadly, Nigeria and Akwa Ibom has been worst hit by this epidemic. Our children are being trafficked outside the state mainly for sexual exploitation, prostitution and domestic servitude
“We have found brothels in Obot Akara, Ikot Ekpene, Essien Udim, where our children between the ages of eight and 18 are used for prostitution purposes”, she revealed.
She further gave an insight into child abuse cases in the state, a situation she noted has led to the death of many victims.
“One of the girls we rescued said she was given a packet of condom, one toilet paper and a ten-spring mattress where she services five men everyday for her madam. She has sexual relations with men and she is eight years old.”
“Daily, our children are brought to us in truck loads from Mali, Libya, and other places. The other day, we took delivery of 33 girls. One of them, her intestines were hanging out from the vagina. For some, we were able to restore and some of them are dead. If you’re on the social media, you’ll see the pictures”, she said.
She said the Dialogue was organised to identify causes of child trafficking and abuse, as well as find a lasting solution to what she said has remained an age-long menace.
Commander of the National Drug Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), Mrs Obot Bassey, who also spoke at the event, identified drug abuse one of the factors fueling child abuse and trafficking.
While calling for collective effort in the fight against child abuse, she however said the Agency will not relent efforts in tackling drug abuse in order to stem the tide of child trafficking in the state.
Similarly, the State Attorney General, Uko Udom, SAN, represented by Mfon Edemekong, reiterated that the state government would continue to maintain a zero tolerance for child abuse and trafficking.
He commended the State Taskforce on Child Trafficking for living up to its responsibilities and encouraged more groups and individuals to join in the fight against child abuse.
The event was attended by representatives Civil Society Organisations, security agencies and the media.
Barr. Emem Ette