Kasuwan-ruwa, is one of the slump in Lokoja, Kogi State capital. Located around the International Market, just a stone thrown to Nataco junction. Nataco junction is the merging point for the town. Motorists from Abuja and other parts of the country stopped to offload passengers there, as well as picking passengers. At that junction, the town never sleep. So also is the ungodly activities carried out inside the Kasuwa -Ruwa.
Kasuwa-Ruwa is an Hausa name for market by the river side. So also is the one in Lokoja. During the day, traders converge to sell yam, but at night it is otherwise. The place is an abode for prostitute, worse still underage prostitution and sex slave.
More worrisome is that, the man who was alleged to be behind the trafficking of this girls identified as Small Lusher (not real name) gets the lion share from the girls after selling their bodies to customers who patronize them at night.
Findings revealed that the girls are scouted from other states. They are convinced to relocate to Lokoja with the hopes that they will get jobs as promised by their master (Small Lusher) but later end up becoming a prostitute and sex slave.
Recently, a Non Governmental Organization, Wadata Media and Advocacy Center, Abuja, had raised alarmend that some girls were trafficked from the northern part of the country such as Kano, Katsina, Kaduna, Niger, Sokoto, Bauchi, and other neighbouring countries like Chad, Niger republic into Lokoja, and dumped at the Kasuwa-Ruwa area, but the particular building for this trade was not know.
Some journalists took a trip to the side. Of course, some residents around the area had long suspected the house. The building looking old and ragged from outside, inside too almost same. That is where those girls, some in their teens are housed. The building is divided into two. A hall for ‘disco’ dancing moderated by some guys, and, some demarcated cubicles where the girls laid their heads; then an extended building.
One of the trafficked girls who spoke with Vanguard inside the building said she was brought from Kano. She gave her name as Hadiza.
Hadiza said she was lured into the house with the promise of job. She said the girls are brought out around 8 pm to start dancing in the hall.
On one of the visit, some men are seen seated opposite the dancing girls. Sometimes, at nature’s prompt, stood up and spray the dancing girls some wad of notes. The girl, mostly Hausas. Anyone which attracted the highest money becomes the STAR GIRL of the Night. Anyone who does not dance well, are asked to sit on the floor with a small basin placed on their head as a ‘punishment.”
“At the end of the dance, the men will take us back into our cubicle or outside the town as they wish and have sex with us. If it’s outside, they will return us the second day, but if it is inside, we can have as many sex clients that night”
Hadiza who spoke in Hausa through the help of an English interpreter said they don’t know Small Lusher’s name. But described him as short and skinny; who loves to be called ‘Chairman.’
Hadize, 17, however said Small Lusher’s paid them after collecting money from clients on their behalf. How much, he never disclosed but gives them N1000, “Business became dull last year, and some times we don’t receive more than N300.”
Many times she and some people has informed their recruiter of wanting to quit, but first of all, she did not know the route to her town, and again, she lost her memory afterward, and bothered not about leaving. She said they are close to twenty girls in the building, with their parents not aware of their whereabout.
Residents of the community have continued to point fingers at some security agencies for aiding and abating this illegal business which according to them has exposed the girl child to insecurities, psychological trauma and diseases.
It was gathered that some of this girls gets pregnant on regular basis and later gave birth. Once pregnant, the girls are taken to somewhere else within the slum until put to bet. Weeks after, they are returned to their base. while those who could not carry the baby are compelled to undertake abortion.
Those who are pregnant are taking from their cubicle to the adjourning building until they put to bed. Hadiza said Small Lusher does not bothered if the clients demands unprotected sex from them.
The alleged mastermind and brain behind the syndicate, according to Wadata Media investigation decided to open another branch of his business at Saban Zango which is less than one kilometer to Kabba junction, along Okene-Lokoja-Abuja high way; perhaps, the illicit business was becoming lucrative. The takes of those at the new ‘branch’ is not much different from the Kasuwan -Ruwa. Saban Zango is less than 8 Km from the Lokoja city.
Armed with this discovery, Vanguard sought the opinion of the state government. When contacted, the state government were agaped that such was been carried out, right under their nose – Lokoja, the seat of Lugard.
But the Kogi State Government has now vowed to clamp down on all the cartels behind the use of under aged girls for prostitution and sex slavery in Lokoja Local Government Area of the state.
The State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Fatima Buba said all the perpetrators of the crime will be brought to book. She described the crime as heinous, adding that the government is not aware that such cartel was operating in the state which is against the provision of the child right act.
While explaining further that the act is appalling, Hajia Buba noted that the Kogi State Government will not condole any act of human trafficking or sexual exploitations in the state.
“This government under Alhaji Yahaya Bello has leaved no stone unturned to protect the girl child and women in the state. We won’t allow any disgruntled element to come here and sabotage the effort of his excellency.
“This is total wickedness. How will someone who has conscience carry out such a heinous crime like this? With this illicit business, this girls will be denied the right to education, they would be expose to all manners of dangers and diseases.
“Am assuring the general public that this matter will not be swept under the carpet and will be investigated to a logical conclusion. Whoever that is behind this, no matter how highly placed in the society, must face the full wrath of the law. Kogi State is not a safe haven for criminals, teenage prostitutions, or sex slavery of any kind” She averred.End