Sex Trafficking in Nigeria

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Two months ago, I had a chat with a man in my work place who is from Benin city, the capital of ancient Benin empire. He explained how it is a thing of pride among his people to travel out of the country, even without legal papers. He had gone on such a trip about 12 years ago with the aid of agents who helped illegal migrants travel to Spain through Morocco. Eventually, he was deported by the Spanish authorities 3 months after his arrival there. His experience made me to begin to make further enquiries about the veracity of his claims about Benin folks.

As a boy, when I was in secondary school I recall first learning about the Benin Empire from my Fine Arts teacher when she taught us about their ancient art. The Benin bronzes, when they were discovered by the Europeans in the pre-colonial days , made a great impression on the foreigners that Africans had such sophisticated artistic skills. I further learned about the kingdom when we were taught that one of the sons of Oduduwa (progenitor of the Yorubas and the founder of Ile-Ife, which later became the Oyo empire) ruled as king of the Benin empire. The Benin people were so powerful and the kingdom rose to prominence among West African kingdoms before colonialism under the British. All of that is history because things have taken a different twist.

In modern times, the city has earned a different reputation than power or prosperity. The BBC reported that Benin (not the similarly named West African country) is one of the main sources of West African girls and women trafficked into prostitution in Europe (largely Italy and the UK). Unfortunately, so many naive girls and their families are deceived by promises of education and good jobs abroad. While many girls die along the land route, the lucky ones who arrive there alive work as slaves for their traffickers in exchange for the ‘favor’ of being brought to Europe. It’s sickening to learn of such a high volume of trade in human lives. However, this human trafficking business isn’t restricted to Nigeria but is a global phenomenon. Indeed our country is favorably ranked amongst nations fighting this unethical source of billions of dollars.

As a way to further curb this sale of human lives, our government can do better. The Edo state government needs to urgently arise to fight this organized unethical network of modern day slavery thriving under its watch. We have heard of the Mexican drug war, an indication that the Mexican government is making concerted efforts to stop drug cartels. On the other hand, we’re yet to hear of a Nigerian human trafficking war. Maybe it’s not yet necessary because the magnitude hasn’t yet reached alarming levels. Nevertheless, this year’s World Day against Trafficking in Persons is an opportunity to remind stakeholders that drastic action need be taken in local cities that emerge on human abuse watch lists.

(c) Leke Babayomi, 2015

The Beautifully Dressed Umpires at #Wimbledon 2015

Tennis happens to be one of my favorite sports. Interestingly, I’ve never played it before. Anyway, I followed the 2015 Wimbledon passionately and was disappointed that Nadal has not yet gotten back his winning form. Obviously, the heroic performance displayed by Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic remain memorable. Nonetheless, I remain a die-hard fan of Roger Federer.

Now, this post is not intended to report the competition but to point out something that struck me as I watched the highlight of the final match between Federer and Djokovic. See the picture I captured from their game below.

Chair and line umpires at 2015 Wimbledon.
Chair and line umpires at 2015 Wimbledon.

Did you notice that there are several officials on the court? Come to think of it, most spectators will never bother to find out the names of these officials. Although Djokovic carried the day with his remarkable performance, we will forever recall that it was a man named Federer that reached the final of the competition and was outplayed by his opponent. Hence, the players are more important and captivate more attention than the umpires in any game.

Also, great sports men have an amazing ability to shake off the disappointment of a defeat and prepare to do better in the next game or competition. Every setback should be a catalyst for sustaining our thirst for success, instead of making us quit the race. After he lost, Federer said,

“I am still very hungry and motivated and a match like this is very helpful.”

Guess what? I do not want to be an official (umpire, referee or linesman) in the game of life – I want to be a player. Players will be sweaty and experience emotional highs and lows during the course of the action. On the other hand, officials are the critics who assess the key performers, passing comments about their moves during the game. Just like umpires in tennis are so well dressed, critics are always looking good. They never get their hands soiled, never sweat and are better at using their mouths than their hands. Critics are self-appointed umpires to successful people and they never attempt anything laudable – they live a passionless life that is not devoted to anything remarkable. They are satisfied with the normal order of activities; take little or no risk at attaining something unusual, many times because of the fear of failing. They drift about without any definite sense of purpose and do not motivate or stir our souls about their noteworthy goals or achievements.

Theodore Roosevelt captured my thoughts succinctly:

“It is not the critic who counts; not the man who points out how the strong man stumbles, or where the doer of deeds could have done them better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena, whose face is marred by dust and sweat and blood; who strives valiantly; who errs, who comes short again and again, … who at the best knows in the end the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst, if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who neither know victory nor defeat.”

In summary, it’s the players and not the umpires who stand a chance to win awards and laurels in life. I prefer to be the former. What about you?

Best,

LEKE

Disappointments are a Blessing!

Rainbow after storm. Photo credit: http://positivepsychologynews.com/
Rainbow after storm.
Photo credit: http://positivepsychologynews.com/

A friend recently got promoted at work. However, I recall him mentioning that not too long ago, he had had such a dismal performance in the same organization that made his chances of promotion at the time very slim.

God always knows what He’s up to, but we are always clueless as to what he’s doing in our lives. When Jesus delayed and permitted the death of Lazarus, it resulted in disappointment and sorrow to his family. But in the end, their faith was built up and their joy was boundless after the dead and decaying corpse of Lazarus was raised back to life (John 11:44).

Similarly in our lives, God is the Potter, molding us into what He wants us to be. We like to sing the song that says,

“Spirit of the Living God, Fall afresh on me, Melt me, Mold me, Fill me, Use me.”

However, when the breaking and melting starts, we cry and sometimes lose hope because we think our heavenly Father has forsaken us and is making life unbearable for us. Nonetheless, it is only the vessel that God himself has broken and remolded according to his desire that He can fill up with his power and use to show forth His praise to the world and this generation. The breaking, melting and remolding process reconstructs our character to conform to the nature of Christ.

Your disappointment might be a miscarriage, relationship failure, marital delay, promotion delay, business/career stagnation or the death of a loved one. When we face disappointments that make us think that God’s name is being shamed in our lives, we should pray, “Lord, glorify yourself in my life in the way that you choose. Let this situation work out for my good and promotion in the end!”

Disappointments do not bring happiness in themselves. But I must confess that although the process might be hard, we will find out that God is faithful and will make things work out for our good!

Remain blessed,

LEKE