Making real his recent promise to the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, His Majesty, Omo N’Oba N’Edo Uku Akpolokpolo, Oba Ewuare II Ogidigan, Oba of Benin Kingdom at the weekend (Friday) met with all native Doctors in Benin at his palace and got them to revoke all the oaths they had earlier administered on victims of human trafficking. He also placed curses on any of them or their cronies that will again get involved in the administration of oath on prospective victims of human trafficking.
The Director-General had in February 2018 led a team of NAPTIP officials to the Royal father to enlist his support and that of the Benin traditional institution in the fight against human trafficking bearing in mind the endemic nature of the kingdom in human trafficking. She had complained to the Royal father about the activities of Native Doctors (Juju Priests) in Benin who administered oaths on victims of human trafficking and stressed that the activities have made it difficult in winning the war against human trafficking. She therefore, urged the Oba to join NAPTIP in its renewed efforts at stopping the juju priests in Benin from further administering oaths on victims of human trafficking that are brought to them by criminal elements.
She said, ‘’We are doing our best in sensitising the juju priests against the practice and many have assured us that they will no longer administer oaths on the victims, but as a respected Royal Father in this land whose words are respected, I respectfully implore Your Majesty to use your good offices to talk to these juju priests and the chiefs involved. You may wish to summon all of them and talk to them, and we are ready to join Your Majesty to sensitise them on the effects of their actions on the helpless young people’’.
In his response, His Majesty who frowned at the activities of the native doctors and the juju priests in the trafficking chain assured that the Palace will call them to order.
‘’We have noted the activities of the native doctors or the juju priests as you call them. We will do our best to discourage them from getting involved in this crime. We will appeal to them. We will talk directly to them to stop what they are doing. We will call them to order and I believe they will listen to us’’, he said.
The Oba lived up to this promise at the weekend when he summoned all the native doctors, and ordered them to reverse the oaths victims of human trafficking had been forced to take in order to encourage victim to speak out or return home to Nigeria without fear of repercussion.
The Palace according to the Royal Father frowns at the use of native medicine to perpetrate evil in the land through aiding and abetting human trafficking.
He said, ‘’you native doctors whose business is to subject people to oath of secrecy are encouraging evil act in the land. You have to repent, stop doing it. This is not a joking matter and if you do not repent, you will see the repercussion.
‘’What the Palace stands for is peace and the development of the State. I want to use this medium to tell you that the act of using charms to aid trafficking, the palace seriously frowns at it. We want us to join hands together to fight against human trafficking in the land’’.
He however, placed curses on native doctors and herbalists and all others who aid human trafficking by administering oaths of secrecy on their victims. He said that those who previously administered the oaths were forgiven while anyone who administers oath after the event remains cursed.
He however said that henceforth, those who were under oaths by human traffickers had been set free and are at liberty to reveal their sponsors without fear of any harm from their sponsors. While nullifying the oaths taken, he abolished further oath taking by victims of human trafficking.
Hundreds of native doctors converged on the Palace for the ceremony. Others at the meeting and whose activities have been of great concern were the Ohen Okhuae, Ohen Ovia, Ohen n’Oriyekeogba, Ohen Ake, Ohen Niwuo, Ohen Sango, Odionwere, Iwueki and the Enogies.
Sacrifices were made to seal the pronouncement of the Royal Father
Some of those that witnessed the ceremony were: the Benin Zonal Commander of NAPTIP, Barr. Nduka Nwanwenne and officers of the Agency, Former Minister of Science and Technology, Prof Emmanuel Emovon; Former Ambassador and Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Dr Martin Uhomobhi; Palace Chiefs, Native Priests and Priestesses of Benin Traditional Religion amongst others.
Officers of NAPTIP had an opportunity to pay homage to the Royal Father for his actions against the juju priests and joining the fight against human trafficking.
Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)
12th March, 2018