It was a moment of great jubilation and emotions as Miss Uduak Okon Etim reunites with her family after over twenty years of abduction.
Miss Uduak Okon Etim was kidnapped twenty years ago while In class at St. Joseph Roman Catholic Primary School Idu, Uruan LGA, and was trafficked to Benin City, in Edo State. During her years In captivity, Uduak was Subjected to modern-day slavery, characterised by child labour, sexual abuse, physical torture and starvation, she said.
Help came to Uduak when a good citizen petitioned the family to National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) Benin Zonal Command, that there was a young girl in his neighbourhood going through torment daily.
Speaking at the event, Mrs Ijeoma Uduak; Zonal Commander National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP) Benin Zonal Command Expressed Gratitude to God and said it was a long journey to victory, as several arrests were made after a serious investigation that took them months.
She thanked President Buhari who funded the Agency and her team members who helped in making sure Uduak got freedom and rehabilitation. She also stated that two culprits involved In the Case have been apprehended and are still standing prosecution, while in custody at a correctional facility. She says the agency will ensure they are sentenced to serve as a detriment to other intended human traffickers.
Mrs Uduak thank Rev (Engr) J B Effiong, the zonal leader of Central Uruan and chairman Mosongo-Ibonda Clan Advisory Council who assisted the Agency to identify the Village and family of Miss Uduak Etim. She also thanked Hon (Chief) Emmanuel Nicholas Okokon AKA Whyte Bom Bom who assisted them with logistics to ensure the event was very successful. She extended her gratitude also to the village head of Idu, who at short Notice from his Clan Advisory Council could organise a well-attended re-unification event for the freed girl.
The Zonal Commander Of NAPTIP Benin Zonal Command says after discovering that her abductors did not give her any formal education or help her to acquire any skills, the Agency decided to train her before she could be released to her family.
After proper career counseling, NAPTIP discovered the hidden talent of Miss Uduak Etim in hairdressing, And the Agency through one of their supporting NGO’s the European union implemented by ION, funded Miss Uduak Okon Etim to acquire skill in Hair Dressing. After her training, ION purchased all Hair Dressing Equipments, Food Stuffs and supported her with the sum Of three hundred thousand Naira to rent a shop.
The very delighted Uduak Okon Etim recounted her ordeals In the hands Of her abductors but thanked God for using ‘National Agency For Prohibition Of Traffic In Persons’ (NAPTIP) to rescue her and she was also full of gratitude to Benin Zonal Commander, Mrs. Ijeoma Uduak. The Zonal Commander plead with the Wife of the Governor, Her Excellency, Dr (Mrs) Martha Udom Emmanuel to also support Miss Uduak Etim with family to have proper accommodation.
“I’m aware of the good works of the Wife of your Governor in giving shelter to widows and I learned Uduak’s Mother here does not have a good home, So I plead with our beautiful first lady to extend her shelter of hope to this poor family” God bless her, She added.
The mother of the victim, Mma Esther Edet Udo Ekong couldn’t Control her emotions as she wept uncontrollably, that she lost hope of ever seeing her daughter again, believing she has been used for ritual.
Rev (Engr) J.B. Effiong, the Zonal Leader of Central Uruan thank NAPTIP for doing a thoroughly professional job in rescuing and training Miss Uduak Etim who was kidnapped twenty years ago. He also commends Governor Udom Emmanuel for ensuring human trafficking is banished from the State.
In their Separate Remarks, The Vice-Chairman Of Uruan LGA, Mrs Uduak -Udoenang, and Governor’s aide on Research and Documentation, who is also the Secretary of Mosongo -Ibonda Clan Advisory Council, Chief Emmanuel Nicholas, the Ibiom (1) of Mosongo- Ibonda expressed their gratitude to NAPTIP and also share in the same belief that Miss Uduak Okon Etim Is destined to be great.
Giving the vote of thanks, the Village Head Of Idu, Etinnyin Godwin Edet Okoho thanked President Muhamadu Buhari & Gov. Udom Emmanuel For Sustaining Public Institutions such As NAPTIP. He thanked the Zonal Commander Of NAPTIP, Benin Command for rescuing the young lady while thanking Rev (Engr) J B Effiong and Chief Emmanuel Nicholas who assisted the Agency in identifying her family and everyone who made the Rescue of Miss Uduak Okon Etim possible.
Etinnyin Okoho announced that Idu Village Council will pay one-year shop rent For Miss Uduak Okon Etim to help in Establishing her Business. The event was witnessed by members of Idu Village Council; Led by Hon. Torobong Mbang, Family Heads, Youth Council, general public and members of press community.