By Deborah Coker
The Igueben Traditional Council in Edo State has pledged its support for the activities of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that members of the traditional council in a ceremony on Thursday at the Palace of the Onogie of Igueben, Eluojierior Ehizogie 1, came together and placed curses on any descendant of the community, who would be involved in human trafficking.
NAN reports that the traditional council comprises of the traditional rulers from the eight communities that make up the Igueben Local Government Area and their traditional priests and native doctors.
According to Ehizogie 1, the ceremony also breaks the oath of allegiance between already trafficked persons and their traffickers.
Speaking shortly before the symbolic traditional laying of curses and breaking of oaths of allegiance, he said that the step taken by the Igueben Traditional Council was a follow up to the step taken by the Oba of Benin, Eware II, on the issue of human trafficking.
He stressed the need to collaborate with NAPTIP to fight human trafficking and said the fight should not be left to government agencies alone.
He said there was need to bring awareness to the people in the rural areas as they had implicit faith in the traditional institution.
The monarch also said that ills of human trafficking in the society could not be over emphasised, especially with the rising trend of children without fathers.
He noted that it was time to look inward and think about what would become of such children in future, and possible ways of forestalling further rise in such cases.
He regretted that the major people engaged in human trafficking were influential members of the society.
“I know so many calls I received from these highly connected people, asking me not to go ahead with what we are doing today.
“There is need for peace in the land, and so the needful must be done, so that sanity and good can reign in our society,” he said.
Responding, the Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Mr Nduka Nwanwenne, said that the problem of human trafficking could not be handled by just one person, adding that all stakeholders must join hands in the fight.
Nwanwenne said that if steps taken by the Igueben traditional council and the Oba of Benin were also taken by other traditional councils across the state, the fight against human trafficking would have achieved greater success.
He expressed hope that the development would help deter people from engaging in the vice.
NAN reports that curses were also placed on anyone who would engage in perpetrating any evil in the eight communities that make up Igueben Local Government Tradition Council.
The communities are Igueben, Ebelle, Ekpon, Ewossa, Okalo, Igun, Amaho and Udo.