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Giving and misgivings – Human trafficking; Polio eradication commitment

On the back page, Daily Trust newspaper carried the following chilling headline: “I was sold into prostitution for 500,000 cefa”

“An 18-year-old victim of a human trafficking syndicate, Victoria Oshioke, has narrated how her boyfriend sold her into prostitution for 500,000 cefa (about N350,000).

Operatives of the Nigerian Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC) disclosed yesterday that they rescued Oshioke, along with three other girls, from the leader of a human trafficking syndicate.

The girl told our reporter at the headquarters of the Lagos State Command of the NSCDC that she was first sold to the syndicate three years ago when she was 16-years-old and taken, first, to Cotonou, Republic of Benin and later to Mali to engage in prostitution.

But, as she said, she found her way back to Nigeria because she could not cope with the stress of having sex with different men.

She said, “the syndicate took me to Mali where I was made to sleep with different men. I came back two years ago and later got a call from my boyfriend, Maxwell, that I should come to Benin. I was living in Auchi then. When I got to Benin along with my elder sister, my boyfriend asked me to go back to Mali.

“I refused. In the midnight, he threw us out of his apartment. For fear of being attacked, we agreed to go. The next day, which was Tuesday, he put us in a bus coming to Lagos after calling his contact, who resides at Iyana-Ipaja, Lagos, residence and rescued Ishioke, together with three other girls, who were identified as Joy Aloaye, 22; Amaka Eze, 23; and Anuoluwapo Mustapha.

Our reporter learnt that Omowunmi Michael’s arrest was sequel to a disagreement between her and the girls over how much each of the girls would pay her. The suspect had allegedly demanded an upfront payment of N1 million from each of the girls before she would hand them over to the syndicate’s leader in Cotonou. The girls were, however, understood to have refused to give Michael any commitment to that effect and she allegedly threatened to return them to Edo State.

It was further gathered that two of the girls, Aloaye and Oshioke, stormed out of the house in anger and proceeded to the main road where they asked a truck driver to give them a lift to Benin. It was at that point that the NSCDC officials sighted them and took them in for questioning.

Parading Michael at Alausa, Ikeja, the Commandant of the NSCDC, Lagos State Command, Cyprian Ehi Otiobhi, alleged the suspect was apprehended on Wednesday January 15, 2020 at No. 13, Abuke Oku Street, Iyana Ipaja, at about 9.20 am for attempting to traffic four ladies to Mali for prostitution.

“Two of the victims, Victoria Oshioke and Joy Aloaye, were transported form Benin, Edo State by one Favour, who is currently on the run, while Amaka Eze, who hails from Onitsha, Anambra State, was linked to the suspect by one Lekan,” he added.

Regardless, the Bill and Belinda Gates Foundation has remained steadfast in its diligent pursuit of impactful philanthropy in Nigeria.

“Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation extending fundraising partnership to eradicate polio.

EVASTON, II. (January 22, 2020) – Rotary and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation are renewing their longstanding partnership to end polio, announcing a joint commitment of up to $450 million to support the global polio eradication effort.

“Because of the efforts of Rotary and its partners, almost 19 million people are walking today who would have otherwise been paralysed,” said John Germ, Past President of Rotary International who leads Rotary’s polio fundraising efforts. “By partnering with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, we’re ensuring that children in polio-affected countries get the lifesaving vaccines they need to be protected from polio for life. As the first organisation to envision a polio-free world, Rotary is more committed than ever to delivering on our promise that one day, no child will ever again be paralysed by polio.”

To an audience of Rotary volunteer leaders around the world, Bill Gates, co-chair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation delivered a video message announcing the extension of a funding partnership forged more than a decade ago. Rotary is committed to raising $50 million per year over the next three years, with every dollar to be matched with two additional dollars from the Gates Foundation. This expanded agreement will translate into up to $450 million for polio eradication activities.

“The Gates Foundation’s longstanding partnership with Rotary has been vital to fighting polio,” said Mr. Gates in today’s message to Rotary volunteers. “That’s why we’re extending our funding match, so every dollar that Rotary raises is met with two more. I believe that together, we can make eradication a reality.”

In addition to the extended funding partnership with the Gates Foundation, Rotary is also announcing $45 million in funding for polio eradication efforts in countries throughout Africa (Angola, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Somalia and South Sudan), and Asia (Afghanistan, Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Pakistan and the Philippines). The funding will help support crucial polio eradication activities such as immunization and disease detection, research, and community mobilisation.

Polio – a paralysing and sometimes deadly disease – is on the verge of becoming the second human disease in history to be eradicated. This critical funding helps ensure that children in at-risk countries are protected from polio, and that the wild poliovirus is eliminated in the last two countries that continue to report cases.

While only Afghanistan and Pakistan continue to report cases of wild poliovirus, the remaining challenges to global eradication – like difficulty reaching children amid insecurity and conflict and weak health systems – have proven to be the most difficult. In order to meet these roadblocks head on and ensure the continuation of program efforts, funding and support from donors and world governments is imperative.

Rotary has contributed more than $2 billion to fight polio, including matching funds from the Gates Foundation, and countless volunteer hours since launching its polio eradication program, PolioPlus, in 1985. In 1988, Rotary formed the Global Polio Eradication Initiative with the World Health Organisation, UNICEF, and the U.S. Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The Gates Foundation and Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance later joined. When the initiative launched, there were 350,000 cases of polio every year. Today the incidence of polio has plummeted by more than 99.9 percent.

Anyone can be a part of the fight to end polio and have their donation to Rotary matched 20-to-1 by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation. Visit to learn more and donate.

Rotary brings together a global network of volunteer leaders dedicated to tackling the world’s most pressing humanitarian challenges. We connect 1.2 million members from more than 35,000 Rotary clubs in almost every country in the world. Their service improves lives both locally and internationally, from helping those in need in their own communities to working toward a polio-free world. Visit and for more about Rotary and its efforts to eradicate polio.”

However, that is not all that the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation has been doing in Nigeria.

(Third in the series of an address delivered at the Rotary Foundation dinner/dance at the MUSON Centre, Marina, Lagos on 8th February 2020)


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