Human trafficking: Oba of Benin forces native doctors to revoke curses placed on victims

Edo State victims of human trafficking can now call the bluff of agents who threaten them with dire consequences of oaths sworn to in the process of taking them abroad.

The oaths which are often administered by native doctors engaged by the agents were reversed yesterday by the same native doctors.

The oath reversal was at the instance of the Benin monarch, Oba Ewuare II, at a special meeting in his palace to stop human trafficking in the state which comes tops in the illegal act in Nigeria.

An oath taking process ,according to victims, involve the invocation of parts of their bodies as collateral to force them pay back the money spent by the agents to take them  mainly to Europe where they end up as prostitutes.

Hundreds of native doctors converged on the Oba of Benin palace yesterday to heed the monarch’s call.

Oba Ewuare 11 said Governor Godwin Obaseki had pleaded with him to help reduce the spate of human trafficking in the state.

The state, he pointed out, has had enough of the embarrassment that comes with human trafficking and it is time to put an immediate end to it.

He said while the palace has nothing against the practice of native medicine, it will not condone a situation where it is used to “perpetrate evil in the land through aiding and abetting human trafficking.”

He said: “You native doctors whose business is to subject people to oath of secrecy and encouraging evil act in the land, you have to repent, stop doing it.

“This is not a joking matter and if you do not repent, you’ll see the repercussions.”

He cursed human traffickers and native doctors who subject Benin sons and daughters to oaths of secrecy, initiate them into cults or encourage violation of the order banning Community Development Associations.

He warned that anyone persisting should be ready to face the wrath of the gods.

He then directed the native doctors present to revoke the curses and oaths already placed on trafficked victims.

The Benin Monarch declared: “We want to use this medium to tell those who are under any oath of secrecy that they are now free. We revoke the oath today.

“What the palace stands for is peace and the development of the state. I want to use this medium to tell you that the act of using charms to aid trafficking, the palace seriously frowns at it.

“We want us to join hands together to fight against human trafficking in the land.”

Those who took part in the swearing exercise were priests from various shrines in the state such as the Ohen Okhuae, Ohen Ovia, Ohen noriyekeogba, Ohen Ake, Ohen Niwuo, native doctors, Ohen Sango,  Odionwere, Iwueki and the  Enigies.