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Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Nigeria's Diabolical Human Traffickers

Nigerian social media and online news blogosphere was agog yesterday with the news of a wanted notorious human trafficker who specialized in taking young Nigerian women to Dubai and Qatar in order to earn a living as prostitutes. Like all those around the world involved in this appalling venture, she had to keep the girls in line to do her bidding. And that was the part that interested me.
'Madam Dubai', as I would like to call her, used a combination of juju and blackmail. First of all, she took the ladies to a shrine to swear their allegiance to her cause. This involved taking an oath that, not only will untold misfortune befall them if they failed to pay her back $30000 or absconded, but that this bevy of misfortunes would also befall their children and generations yet unborn. After they had landed in Dubai, she then had them strip and made a video of them in the nude, which she promised to release to a wide audience on social media and also to their friends and family if they failed to adhere to the terms of their agreement. In the dehumanizing videos, she could be heard asking the women to again swear loyalty to her and speak the consequences of reneging on their 'agreement'.
Nigerians, apart from being religious, also believe in the diabolical. We believe in the power of juju and witchcraft, which ironically can only be counteracted and vanquished by the power or the blood of Jesus. This premise was the theme of countless Nollywood movies during the early years of Nigeria's lucrative movie industry. I have no doubt that Madam Dubai is, or professes to be a Christian, and as is common with many Nigerians of faith, obviously dabbles into the world of the occult. People like this abominable woman exploit the dire economic misfortunes of poorly educated and invariably superstitious and vulnerable young Nigerian women with the promise of a better life abroad. Many of these trafficked women know they are going to become prostitutes abroad and some of them even seek out persons like Madam Dubai and ask to be recruited. One of the women in the videos admitted she went to the juju shrine with her mother.
I have laid some of the blame for the success of Madam Dubai and her co travellers at the doorstep of the various governments in Nigeria. While they corruptly enrich themselves and their sycophants, many of whom now happen to be pastors and leaders in the church, infrastructures decay, institutions are left to die, and the masses are left with nowhere to turn but the churches, whose leaders are partly responsible for their woes in the first place. The politicians make electoral promises they know the will never deliver, and when the populace are forced into the churches, their already stretched wallets are emptied into the church coffers with promises of a hundred fold increase by the tithe-demanding and lucre-crazed pastors and televangelists.
Juju, like Jesus, is a myth. The human traffickers of Nigerian origin only exploit it to serve their greedy ends, and for Madam Dubai especially, the fact that she used blackmail only buttresses the fact that the juju these unfortunate victims are made to swear an oath on are completely powerless and ineffective.