The Nigeria Navy says it has rescued 50 prostitutes and arrested three suspected sex traffickers during a major raid on two brothels in Port Harcourt.
Base Information Officer, Nigerian Navy Ship (NNS) Pathfinder, Lt.-Cdr. Richard Iginla, paraded the suspects and rescued victims before newsmen in Port Harcourt.
Iginla said the operation was carried out in collaboration with the Nigeria Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC).
According to him, the 50 prostitutes, mainly teenage girls, were rescued in the early hours of Saturday after a tip-off from NAPTIP.
“We got the intelligence from NAPTIP, which had been tracking the brothels that camped juveniles with some of them as young as 14 years of age.
“So, after NAPTIP shared intelligence with us, a joint team was set up and we immediately went into action to rescue the victims.
“About 50 young girls forced into prostitution were rescued, while three recruiters and operators of the brothels were arrested,” he said.
Iginla further said the brothels, Royal Brothel and Cool Breeze Brothel, both located on Azikiwe Road in Diobu area of Port Harcourt, had been shut down.
He said efforts were ongoing to trail and arrest the leaders of the sex trafficking ring, who recruits children from villages into prostitution.
“Children are gifts from God, and we must do everything humanly possible to protect them from all forms of abuse and exploitation.
“The Nigeria Navy will continue to collaborate with relevant agencies to bring to justice criminal elements that traffic persons either on land or through the waterways.
“On conclusion of our investigation, the suspects and victims will be handed over to NAPTIP for further investigation and possible prosecution,” he added.
Speaking, the Head of NAPTIP in Rivers State, Mrs Nwa-amaka Ikediashi, said the agency would immediately rehabilitate the victims with focus on reintegrating them back into the society.
According to her, the victims, mainly under-aged girls, would also partake in different phases of counselling, to ensure they don’t continue prostitution.
“NAPTIP, as the focal agency mandated to fight all forms of human trafficking and sexual exploitation, will conduct proper investigation, to ensure justice is served,” she promised.
One of the rescued minors, an Anambra indigene, told The Tide source that she was trafficked from her village to work as a house help.
The victims said on her arrival to Port Harcourt in company of one of her kinswoman, she was forced into prostitution.
“One of my village woman (trafficker) brought me and two other girls from our village with the impression that we are coming to serve in a hotel.
“Shortly after we arrived at the hotel, she (trafficker) went outside and collected money from one woman (brothel operator). That was the last time I saw her (trafficker).
“Later, the woman, simply known as madam, put us in a room and told us that we would work as Ashawo (prostitute),” she said.
The victim said she immediately refused to work as a prostitute but that after the operator threatened her with torture and starvation, she gave in.
“In a day I sleep with more than 10 men, and whatever money I make, I give it to my madam.
“We hustle by wearing pants to seduce the men. After admiring what they see, they (men) take us into the room, have sex with us and give us money.
“We do a daily account of any money we collect to our madam’s sister, who calculates and gives us our cut,” she added.
NOWA Donate Palliatives To Widows Of Fallen Naval Officers In Rivers
The Naval Officers Wives Association (NOWA), yesterday donated food stuff and cash to widows of naval officers who died in the course of duty. NOWA National President, Hajiya Nana Gambo inaugurated the exercise tagged: “2022 Annual Widows and Orphans Programme”, organised by the association in Port Harcourt.
She said that the palliatives distributed were part of activities marking its 57th anniversary celebration of the Navy.
According to her, many widows in the country have been abandoned by the society their late husbands served and laid their lives to protect.”So, the importance of a programme like this cannot be overemphasised, especially as widows are historically left unseen, unsupported and unmeasured by the society.”Therefore, we organised this programme to show them kindness and solidarity as well as provide them and their families with succour in line with the association’s responsibilities.
”NOWA has sustained this programme of supporting widows considering that majority of the widow’s circumstances happened in the line of duty of serving their fatherland,” she said. The NOWA president, who is the wife of the Chief of Naval Staff, Vice Adm. Awwal Gambo said recent United Nations statistics showed there were more than 258 million widows around the world. She said armed with this figure, the association decided to extend its hand of fellowship to widows in Rivers; having done same severally to widows of deceased naval officers in Lagos.”So, upon my assumption of leadership of the association, I made it mandatory that the programme must be carried out in all Zones where NOWA has presence.”The decision was taken to ensure that widows and orphans in other parts of the country also benefit from this programme.”This is so, because their late husbands paid the ultimate price for the country,” she said.
The Tide source reports that Gambo presented food stufs and undisclosed stipend to about 30 widows at the event. Also speaking, the Chief of the Naval Staff, Gambo commended NOWA for its numerous humanitarian services that targeted widows and the less privilege in the country. Represented by the Admiral Superintendent, Naval Shipyard Limited, Port Harcourt, Rear Adm. John Oyegade, Gambo said the association had been of immense support to the Nigeria Navy.
”NOWA has been a bridge that has been supporting the efforts of the navy toward alleviating the challenges faced by wives of naval personnel both retired and serving.”The support from the association over the years has immensely impacted on the lives of widows and orphans who are facing untold hardship.”One of my goals is to keep encouraging NOWA to continue with such programmes that directly impact on the lives of disadvantaged persons, including our retirees,” he said. Mrs Nkechinyere Abi-Kalio, who spoke on behalf of her fellow widows thanked the association and called for more support, especially in the face of rising cost of living in the country.
ACOMIN Seeks Functional Primary Healthcare Facilities -SPO
State Programme Officer (SPO) of the Association of Civil Societies in Malaria Control, Immunisation, and Nutrition (ACOMIN), Mrs Maryjane C. Akwuaka, has said the ultimate target of the body is to ensure that health services are easily accessible, particularly in Primary Healthcare Facilities.
Akwuaka, who disclosed this recently in an exclusive interview shortly after the 5th monthly Coordination Meeting of ACOMIN with Civil Society Organisations (CBOs) working on its AIDS, Tuberculosis, and Malaria (ATM) Project in Port Harcourt, said so far the CBOs have recorded successes towards the ultimate goal.
According to her, “what we’re looking out for is what the CBOs achieved in the month under review. From our discussions, most of them reported their achievements, though some of them were not able to achieve as they should this month.
“However, what matters in our project is the performance in a quarter. So, if you didn’t achieve as you should this month, you still have the opportunity of making up for it next month.
“Most of them got commitment from the community stakeholders about issues that they went to advocate for, through them. We’re hopeful that with a follow up visit, these commitments will be remedied.
“ACOMIN’s expectation as far as this project is concerned is to see improved health system, particularly at the Primary Healthcare facilities, where a common man can go to, and have access to quality healthcare services”, she said.
Buttressing the success story, the Executive Director, Association of Positive Youth In Nigeria (APYIN), Mrs Rejoice Sunday, said APYIN has recorded notable successes in Ebubu Community.
“Yes, we have recorded successes. This project is not just aimed at seeing that the gaps are closed by the government. The major aim is to see that the community comes in to take ownership of the facility, to see how they can contribute their quota as a community in the areas they can, apart from the areas the government has to come in,” she explained.
Sunday, who is the Coordinator for ACOMIN in the project in Ebubu Community, Eleme LGA, said APYIN has recorded successes notably in making Ebubu Community taking ownership of its health facility, and also provided other services.
“We have recorded successes in the areas of the community taking ownership. For instance, they never had security at the Ebubu primarily healthcare facility. They had the challenge of vandalization ot the facility in the past. Currently they’re making do with the Town Hall, but there was no security to ensure that whatever they had to keep the facility functioning was safe.
“But after our intervention, the community has taken ownership by ensuring that their vigilante services are extended to the facility. The vigilante is now readily available from the evenings to see that the facility and drugs are safe”, she stated.
Another gap discovered, she explained, was lack of cleaners.
“But after we had Focus Group Discussion (FGD) with members of the community, they’ve also taken up ownership by ensuring that the facility is always clean. They also come out to sanitize the facility”.
The same effort, she continued, aslo ensured that individuals donated such items as chairs, waste bins, buckets, etc. to makeshift health center.
She, however, noted that there are challenges for which the State Government would need to intervene.
Such challenges include provision of such items as Long Lasting Insecticide Treated Nets (LLITN) in the interim to prevent malaria, and drugs for tuberculosis.
Ultimately, she called for renovation and equipping of the existing health center for the community.
On his part, the State Chairman, ACOMIN, Chief John Ihua-Maduenyi, said the meeting “is a review of our activities for the month in the various communities”.
While acknowledging the successes recorded so far, he urged the CBOs still lagging to sit-up.
“They should take their work more seriously than they are doing now: the Executive Directors (EDs), for instance, must know what their officers are doing in the field, and ensure that they review their report at all times”, he said.
The CBOs currently working with ACOMIN are: “Arinze Maduenyi Foundation”; “Dawn of Life Foundation”; and “Rivers of Hope and Humanitarian Initiative” in Obio/Apkor.
In PHALGA, they are: Connecting Peace Initiative; Gods Gift Support Group; and “Support for Mankind Development Initiative”, while Eleme LGA has “Support for Sistanable Development Initiative”; “Dynamic Charity Foundation”; and “Association of Positive Youths in Nigeria”.
“Center for Development Strategies Initiative”; “Center for Education and Support Initiative”; “Mercy of God and Humanitarian Initiative”, are in Tai LGA, while “Christian Help International Foundation”; “Ke-Dumle Support Group”; and Society for Women and Youth Affairs are in Khana LGA.
By: Soibi Max-Alalibo
Wike Hands Over Intelligence, Surveillance Centre To NPF
Rivers State Governor, Nyesom Wike, has handed over the Intelligence and Surveillance Centre built by his administration to the Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
Speaking at the inauguration and hand-over of the centre to the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, in Port Harcourt, Wike said the facility was aimed at further aiding the security agencies in crime fighting in the state.
The Governor, who disclosed the centre was fitted with the latest technology, said it would help in improving the crime fighting capability of police officers and make the state safer.
“Let me say clearly that this is our own contribution to making sure we have peace and fight insecurity, and that those who do business and reside here sleep with their two eyes closed,” he said.
Wike assured that another intelligence and surveillance centre would be built and donated to the police in the next six months.
He also pledged to purchase and donate 10 more armoured vehicles to the centre to strengthen the performance of the personnel that would be deployed there.
The Governor commended the Inspector-General of Police for his unflinching support to the Command in its efforts at fighting crime in the state.
“We have had good relationship with the Police Command, unlike what used to happen before, when, within one year, we had more than eight commissioners of police.
“I thank you for not bringing politics to security issues, and that is why today, people can count Rivers as one of the safest states in the country,” Wike said.
In his speech, the Inspector-General of Police, Usman Baba, commended the Governor for providing the centre which, he said, would enhance the capability of the police to perform in line with international best practices.
“This project is a booster to my agenda of policing Nigeria in these contemporary times, which is in tandem with providing international best practices of using technology and ICT to police with ease,” he said.
According to him, the entire state capital, Port Harcourt, will be under surveillance and monitored within the control room of the centre.
Baba noted that the services to access at the centre would be combined with the police Cyber Crime Unit to render improved policing to Nigerians.
“I want to assure you that the police will make judicious use of this centre, in collaboration with our cybercrime unit, to tackle all forms of crime and criminality.
“We will do the needful to discharge our duties as expected,” he said.
Baba said that could be opened to other security agencies, on the basis of collaboration, synergy and cooperation, to achieve real time monitoring of crime incidences and apprehension of culprits.
“You can sit and police Rivers by getting a life incident report and you can also have the opportunity to send a team that is on standby at the station.
“I think this is the international practice that we will encourage, and I also appeal to the state government and other stakeholders to replicate such projects that will make human factor not an issue,” he said.
Also speaking, the Commissioner for Special Projects, Mr Deinma Iyalla, explained that there was a main building where different gadgets were installed and connected to the control system.
Iyalla said that the main building also had 17 offices, all of which were well-equipped with facilities that would enable the personnel perform in-office duties.
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