Wives of traditional rulers in the Niger Delta, under the aegis of the Niger Delta Royal Queens Forum, have called on the relevant authorities to take decisive action against perpetrators of rape, defilement, trafficking and other criminal acts in the country.
The royal queens made the call during the maiden edition of the Niger Delta Royal Queens Peace Building Summit 2018 titled ‘An enlightened queen is an enlightened community.’
The event, held in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, was attended by queens from Abia, Akwa Ibom, Bayelsa, Cross River, Delta, Edo, Imo, Ondo and Rivers states.
In a communiqué issued after the summit, signed by the Chairperson, Niger Delta Royal Queens Forum, Queen Josephine Diete-Spiff, and Queen Ugoeze Ohiri, the queens declared that they were committed to working to restore peace in the region.
They also stated that an association to actualise issues affecting the Niger Delta, the Niger Delta Royal Queens Forum, was formed to be chaired by the initiator and convener, Diete-Spiff.
The queens urged the government at all levels to intensify efforts to protect women, the girl child and children from abuses and deprivation, stressing that they would campaign for an end to all forms of gender-based violence.
The communiqué read in part, “That all royal queens advocate the education of the girl-child and promote adult and functional education to change the status of women and girls in the region and help engender peace.
“That NDRQ should be more proactive in supporting their husbands (the kings) in developing their domains.
“That NDRQ says no to rape, defilement, trafficking, organ harvesting, and abuse of orphanages.”
The Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, noted that lack of education pulled down women and exposed them to abuses, including being forced into early marriage.
Noting that young girls and boys were being trafficked across countries, she urged parents to recognise returnee trafficked persons as victims needing help and not to be stigmatised.
She said youths from Bayelsa, Imo and Rivers states were being trafficked as sex slaves beyond Italy in Ghana, Mali and Burkina-Faso.
She therefore charged the queens to check brothels to rescue girls being trafficked from the states for sex.
Okah-Donli called for the setting up of groups to monitor communities and waterways for traffickers and report to NAPTIP.
She advised parents to save the girl child and care for pregnant girls to avoid them falling prey to evil persons and reduce child trafficking.
Meanwhile, the Niger Delta Youth Movement has called on the Federal Government to complete the East-West Road from Benin in Edo State to Calabar in Cross River State.
The group also called for the immediate completion of the Owerri-Elele Road, urging the Federal Government to speed up the process of establishing modular refineries in the region to create more jobs for the unemployed youths.
The movement’s National President, Joe Jackson, made the call on Saturday in Owerri, the Imo State capital, when the group honoured one of the sons of the oil-producing areas in the state, Prince Eugene Dibiagwu, as its national patron.