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Why we wrote on human trafficking —NGE members

A LL is set for the public presentation of ‘8 Evils of Human Trafficking’, a book intended to raise awareness on the dastardly act of trading in human beings rampant in the country but which appears to have been relegated to the background in recent times.

Written by seasoned media executives, Steve Osuji and Boniface Opute in collaboration with the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE), the book will be presented on December 6 at Sheraton Hotel, Abuja. 23 state governors will join ex-governor of Anambra State and chair of the occasion, Mr. Peter Obi and Barrister Nyesom Wike, Rivers State governor and the chief presenter, at the event.

Speaking at a meeting with journalists on Friday at the NGE House, Ikeja, Lagos, the authors who were joined by two of their colleagues, Mrs. Veronica Ibanga, General Secretary of the NGE and Mr. Ray Echebiri, took turns to explain why they embarked on the publication with the Human Dignity Project of the NGE.

Osuji, ex-Editor of New Age newspaper and current Editorial Board Member of the Nation Newspapers, explained that there is a need to revisit the issue of human trafficking because it appears to have overwhelmed everybody, including government.

The main worry, Osuji noted, is the dangerous dimension the issue has assumed. “There is the issue of child labour and baby factories; an invidious evil,” he reiterated while noting that the NGE, apart from its normal activities, has since resolved to involve in projects which impact the society.

The book, he added, is written in a fictive format that even children can read. “It is creatively written in story form and comprises eight sections with stories depicting trafficking in all its ramifications. It is also highlights the effect on individuals and societies,” Osuji said.

Also speaking, Opute who has held senior management positions at Vanguard, The Guardian and New Age, disclosed that the book was approved when presidential spokesperson, Mr. Femi Adesina, who wrote the foreword, was President of the NGE.

To him, trafficking is an evil that must remain on the front burner in Nigeria because it continues to devastate lives, families and communities.  He said: “Human trafficking is a raging evil and this book contains true life stories with identities of the subjects hidden. It is intended not only to educate, enlighten and inform but also to serve as deterrence, hence we have invited 23 state governors where human trafficking is endemic in the country. There is no need writing the book if the target audience won’t be reached so our goal is not just to present the book with the governors in attendance but for them to buy it in bulk for distribution to people in their states.”

Opute, who also lamented the increasing number of baby factories, noted that “it is a more invidious form of slavery. It is evil and anything that is evil has to be fought.”

Disclosing why the NGE got involved in the project, Mrs.  Ibanga said the “campaign against this crime seems to have waned in the past few years, and not only in Nigeria but globally. Since 2012, Nigeria has dropped from Tier 1 to Tier 2 in the US Department of State’s annual report on human trafficking.”

She added that having decided to pay more attention to the vice including baby factories and prostitution, the “release of this book is the first step in a series of actions by the Guild and its partners to set agenda, focus more attention and raise issues concerning trafficking in persons to the front burner.”