By; RAYMOND TEDUNJAYE, Lagos
The Chairman of the Police Service Commission (PSC) Dr. Solomon Arase and the Deputy Inspector General of Police, Planning and Strategy DIG Frank Mba and others are expected to grace the book launch of an award winning journalist, slated to be unveiled in Lagos.
Titled, ” We Are Priceless”, the book authored by Juliana Francis, a celebrated and cerebral Crime Reporter, will be unveiled at 11am on August 31, 2023, at the POWA Hall, Oduduwa Street, off Sobo Arobiodu, GRA, Ikeja, Lagos.
The book, centered on Japa, a trending slang, denotes the desperation of most Nigerians, both young and not too young, to flee the economic quagmire in the country to seek a better life in Europe and the West.
Unfortunately, it did not just start. Sadly, it involves trafficking of innocent children, particularly girls of school age into sex slavery.
Fraudulent people have continued to take advantage of the seemingly endemic poverty in the land to deceive parents into handing over their children to be trafficked into sexual exploitation abroad on the pretext of jobs with mouth-watering salaries.
The chairman of the Launch Committee Abiodun Bello in a release in Lagos hinted that the launch will be headlined by dignitaries from all walks of life.
” The Chairman of the event is the former Inspector General of Police (IGP) now the Chair of the Police Service Commission (PSC), Dr. Solomon Arase, the Speakers are Ms Olufunke Fayemi of the Report Women Network and chief producer, Voice of Nigeria and Mrs. Evelyn Usman, the vice-president, Crime Reporters Association of Nigeria (CRAN) while the Special Keynote Speaker is Dr. Godwin Morka, former director, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
” Others are the President of the National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPSS), Otunba Yomi Odubela, as the Guest Speaker, former Presidential aide, Mr. Femi Adesina, as Special Guest/Book Reviewer, while the Special Guest of Honour is Deputy Inspector General of Police (DIG), Frank Mba.
” Other Special Guests of Honour are the CEO, Raimi Salau Nigeria Limited, Alhaji Raimi Salau, the Director-General (DG), NAPTIP, Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi, and the Chair/CEO, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission (NIDCOM), Hon. Abike Dabiri-Erewa.
He explained that the book centres on the escape of five courageous children from sex slavery, which they were deceived into by the people who their parents and guardians trusted.
According to the author, the book reminds us of how vulnerable children continue to be sacrificed on the altar of unbridled wealth accumulation via the selfish quest of adults who should protect them.
“For too long, parents have been fooled into giving their children to human traffickers and merchants of child labour.
“In Nigeria, children as young as eight years old, 10, and 13 are trafficked into sex slavery, child labour, and other crimes and many are killed in the process.
“We can fight human trafficking by first catching our young ones, educating them to know about the ill, and joining in stopping it.
“It is a campaign tool for all sectors, showing the realities of human trafficking and urging Nigerians to join the fight to checkmate the menace,” Francis said.
The author studied Literature-In-English at the University of Ilorin. She started her journalism career in 2002 with The Sun newspaper. Francis was at different times the Crime Editor of the Nigerian Compass, the Newswatch newspaper and the New Telegraph.
As a journalist, Francis has passion for unearthing crimes against humanity, especially the girl-child. She has won several awards and received multiple nominations across the globe. She is the first female overall winner of the coveted Wole Soyinka Prize for Investigative Reporting in Nigeria.
Francis, a media consultant, is the CEO of Youthlens Initiative Development and the publisher of Youthlens.com. She is an alumnus of the ReportWomen Female Reporters Leadership Programme (FRLP), 2017 set and also a trainer and mentor to budding journalists.