According to a new research by the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nigeria is the
Other countries ahead of Nigeria in the ranking are Afghanistan (2), Syria (3), Somalia (4), Saudi Arabia (5), Pakistan (6), Democratic Republic of Congo (7), and Yemen (8). The United States ranks in 10th position and India in the 1st position.
This has been a bad week for Nigeria in terms of public relations. Nigeria is now the poverty capital of the world according to the World Poverty Clock.
In the Thomson Reuters Foundation, Nigeria is the fourth most dangerous country for women when it comes to human trafficking and the sixth worst for women regarding customary practice which include acid attacks, female genital mutilation, child marriage, forced marriage, punishment/retribution through stoning or physical abuse or mutilation and female infanticide/foeticide.
Also, Nigeria ranks 10th in regards to sexual violence on women including rape as a weapon of war, domestic rape, rape by a stranger, the lack of access to justice in rape cases, sexual harassment and coercion into sex as a form of corruption.
ALSO READ:10 great albums made by Nigerian women
Within the past year, illegal immigration has been brought into the nation's conscience. The Libya slave scandal exposed a can of worms.
At the heart of the illegal immigration crisis, is sex trafficking. Every year, thousands of Nigerian women cross into Europe illegally and sold as prostitutes by their pimps (madams) who lured them with fake employment offers.
In 2017, the New Yorker on a young Nigerian girl by the name of Blessing. The article gives a background explanation on why young women in Edo state are sold into slavery.
In the 12,000 word article, Blessing starts her perilous and treacherous journey from Benin in search of financial stability in Europe. It's a harrowing experience which shows how Nigerian women are abused and murdered during this journey.
Blessing was lucky not to drown on her way to Italy but others have not been lucky. In November 2017, 26 young Nigerian women were killed at sea. The tragic story caused a global reaction.
The Nigerian women who are lucky or unlucky enough to make dry land are quickly sold as commercial workers. They work territories controlled by the Nigerian mafia. Far from a little operation, the Nigerian mafia has made headline news for battling for territory with the Italian mafia.
For the Nigerian women sold as sex workers in Europe, it's a life of hell and hardship. In March 2018, 39 Nigerian sex slaves were rescued by Spanish authorities.
There has been a response to the sex trafficking problem. In March 2018, the Oba of Benin forced native doctors in the state to revoke curses placed on victims of human trafficking. There is no result on if the unorthodox act has worked.
Wrong Customary Practices
Female genital mutilation - Nigeria has the highest number of female genital mutilation in the world accounting for 25% of the estimated 115–130 million circumcised women in the world.
In 2015, former President Goodluck Jonathan signed a law that banned FGM in the country. Despite this, FGM still persists in the country although it has declined in the South-East region of Nigeria by 25% since 2000.
Early marriage in Nigeria is still common. According to a UNICEF 2017 research, 17% of Nigerian girls are married at 15 and 44% of Nigerian girls are married at 18. Apart from robbing young women of fulfilling their potentials, early marriage also causes VVF - Vesico Vagina Fistula. According to several reports, Nigeria has the highest number of VVF cases in the world.
Cases of VVF are prevalent in Northern Nigeria. Child marriages and VVF aside, the North East region of has been the battleground for the war against terrorism. Women and children have been victims of the war against Boko Haram. Two clear-cut examples are the kidnapped Chibok and Dapchi schoolgirls.
While most of the Chibok schoolgirls are back home, we cannot forget the few who died in captivity and the girls who married members of the terrorist grou and cannot come back home. A Dapchi school girl still remains in captivity for not denouncing Christianity.
Over 2 million people have been displaced since the fight against Boko Haram. Most of these people lived in internally displaced camps in the North.
While this should be a shelter for these victims, recent findings have shown this is not the case. According to a report by Amnesty International in June 2018, several women in IDP camps said Nigerian soldiers raped them in exchange for food.
With regards to rape, there is little hard data about it in Nigeria. However, it is hard to miss a story of rape on news sites every week. And these are the cases that get reported. There is a culture of silence regarding rape and that is why victims of rape, sexual assault and domestic violence rarely speak up in Nigeria.
While there have been online conversations about the problems, Nigerian women face, we must face the facts that our country is not safe for them.