Thousands of young girls are being trafficked from villages in Togo, to various countries in the region, to work as unpaid domestic servants.
Girls as young as seven are taken from rural villages to Togo’s capital Lomé,
neighbouring Nigeria or Benin by traffickers known as ogas, who are more often than not close female relatives such as
aunts or older sisters.
According to children’s rights organisation, Plan International, the girls are put to work in households
where they perform laborious domestic work for their bosses, such
as washing, cooking, cleaning and caring for children.
Meanwhile, their wages are gathered as an
income by the ogas, who can make up
to CFA150,000 per year (approximately $250) if they have a number of girls
working for them.
The trafficked girls miss out on school, and many experience physical violence, are not fed, or are raped and abused by men
in the household.
I was talking to my cousin in Port Harcourt today, and the conversation really highlighted how many Nigerians have been so thoroughly mistreated and unserviced by bad leadership, that things that should be a given are seen as worthy of celebration if they work momentarily as they normally should.
For one week, my cousin has not used a generator that much for electricity. He exclaimed that he had uninterrupted electricity for almost a week most of the time. It only kicked in twice he told me. He was thrilled and ecstatic about it. The expectations are so low that this is a cause for celebration.
Port Harcourt is not a remote village off the grid. It’s a major city. It’s the capital of Rivers State, yet there is still unreliable power. The fact that generators are still a way of life is a problem. It’s 2014, and we don’t have a grid system that supplies uninterrupted electricity to all. It’s not because of a lack of capital or knowledge. Nigeria has money and brilliance in spades. What are the powers that be doing with all the money that Nigerians are paying exorbitantly for towards electricity?
Nigerians are so used to the daily wahala of life that this seems normal. Having a generator that is. In fact, having a silent generator or the ones that aren’t that loud means you’re living large. Market woman selling fruits and vegetables isn’t living large like that to buy a fancy generator. She probably still has to use kerosene lanterns and torchlight when her family is without power. Nigeria is a country where even the wealthy have to buy generators, because while money continues to be looted and the divide between the wealthy and the poor grows, no one can escape poor infrastructure. Poor infrastructure is what cripples nations. It turns it into a shit show. That’s the thing about shit, it doesn’t matter if you’re a beggar wearing rags or an oga at the top wearing the finest agbada, when you’re knee deep in shit, you will still smell.
It’s not until you take a step back to reflect, or maybe leave Nigeria for a while before you really start to see the absurdity of it. Not using a generator much for a week is not wonderful. Constant, uninterrupted electricity should be a given for the most populated African nation. The ‘generator way of life’ is no way to live, especially when Nigerians are paying for electricity. What are they paying for?
Members of Nigeria’s Boko Haram terrorist group have reportedly assaulted a school and one village, seizing young girls as hostages and acting with seeming impunity just weeks after a raid on a Chibok boarding school claimed 234 hostages.
In the village of Warabe, gunmen kidnapped eight girls between the ages of 12 and 15, 40 miles south of the Borno state capital of Maiduguri.