The Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Dr. (Mrs.) Ifeoma Adaora Anyanwutaku has reiterated the need to always keep the memories of those who in 1791, began the revolution for the abolition of slavery and slave trade and the promotion of freedom, equality and human dignity.
The Permanent Secretary stated this at the event of the commemorating the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition organized by the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture and its Parastatals in collaboration with the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) held at the National Press Centre, Abuja on Thursday 25th August, 2022.
In her address presented by the Director,Information Communication Technology of the Ministry,Mrs Comfort Ajiboye she noted that the theme of the event, ‘‘Modern Day Slavery: A Critical Appraisal Of Domestic Staff In Nigeria’’ is of particular interest to her as a mother as well as one which is relatable to everyone, especially with the increased violence and dehumanization experiences of domestic staff in our society.
She added that it is an opportunity to remind oneself that this evil still lives with us in contemporary forms of human trafficking, voluntary slavery, child labour, forced marriage, forced labour and so on.
The Guest Speaker and Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi while delivering her presentation on the theme, ‘‘Modern Day Slavery: A Critical Appraisal Of Domestic Staff In Nigeria’’ stated that although slavery in its classical form has been abolished globally, it has returned in a different and more worrisome dimension as human trafficking or trafficking in persons.
The Director General, who was represented by the Director of Intelligence, Public Enlightenment Department (NAPTIP), Mr. Josiah Emerole maintained that the new trade in humans and the exploitation and violation of rights of victims remains an international problem; hence it is called MODERN DAY SLAVERY. She also gave an insight to the historical background of slavery and the dimensions of Modern Day Slavery which includes Child Sex Trafficking, Domestic Servitude and Forced Child Labour.
She further called on the whole society and Government to come together to ensure that the issue of modern day slavery is kicked out of the society while assuring that her office will continue to partner with sister Agencies to ensure that the issue becomes a thing of the past.
In the presentation by the Executive Secretary, National Human Rights Commission, Chief Anthony Okechukwu Ojukwu SAN, represented by the Deputy Director, Vulnerable Groups, National Human Rights Commission, Mrs. Agbharase Arase called for reflection on the true meaning of Modern Day Slavery. He also reiterated on human rights violations that take place in trafficking in persons and domestic servitude, stressing on right to life, education, association and so on.
He further encouraged all to nurture, teach and love the children and youths. Also to report any form of abuse to the National Human Rights Commission, NAPTIP, the Law Enforcement Agencies and NGOs.
In his Goodwill message by Dr. Dimitri Sanga, Director of the UNESCO Regional Office for West-Sahel Africa, OIC represented by Ms. Nneka Okafor (Head of Sector, Social & Human Sciences, UNESCO Regional Office, Abuja) assured that UNESCO actively engages in projects that have contributed to the production of innovative knowledge, development of high-level scientific networks and the support of memory initiatives on the theme of slavery, its abolition and the resistance it generated. He therefore called on all stakeholders to reflect on how best to contribute in line with their programs, to the emerging discussion on fighting exploitation which has continuously led to modern day slavery.
The Cultural Counselor of the Chinese Embassy, Mr. Li Xuda in his goodwill message charged everyone to act now and declare war against modern slavery so as to create a peaceful and harmonious society for the children and youths to grow up safely and healthily.
Earlier the Director, International Cultural Relations, Federal Ministry of Information and Culture, Mrs. Memunat L. Idu-Lah in her remarks,stated that the International Day for the Remembrance of Slave Trade and its Abolition is a constant reminder of human history as it offers the opportunity to remember, honour and immortalize those who suffered and died at the hands of the brutal slavery system as well as its abolition. It is also a day to put in perspective that in contemporary times, new forms of slavery has emerged especially the modern day subtle, concealed and undefended forms of slavery.
She further enjoined organizations such as the Civil Society, Government Agencies, NGOs, Youth Associations, Educational Institutions, Students, Artists and the general public to draw attention to these reprehensible occurrences and seek for permanent solutions to their elimination.
In attendance also was the Cultural-Attaché, Indian High Commission, Mr. Mohammed Abdu Lah.
There were testimonies from four (4) girls aged 16, 14, 14 and 12 years who were victims of sexual and domestic abuse who shared their ugly experiences while living with their aunts and madams.
Highlights of the occasion were presentations by the Chinese Cultural group and Cultural Troupe from FCT Culture Centre.
Source: Ifeoma Ezeude