Rural residents were surprised when they encountered the National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency (NDLEA), National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Federal Road Safety Corp (FRSC), Catholic Media, Nigerian Television Authority, Freelance Journalists, religious sisters representing three different congregation, youth group, and even the Chief of Du during Africa Faith and Justice Network’s “A Campaign Against Drug Abuse, Human Trafficking, and Early Marriage” in Jos, Nigeria, and surrounding rural villages. This campaign, held on July 16-18, 2022, sensitized local populations about the prevalence of these issues on society and the impact on the youth and community at large.
Led by AFJN-Nigeria and AFJN Youth, the religious women with the trained youth, and in partnership with the government agencies, took to the streets, markets, community centers educating the populations. A week before the campaign the participating youths were educated on these issues. The day of the campaign began with prayer for good weather, protection, and to open the hearts and minds of all they were to encounter on their advocacy and outreach visits. AFJN Youth, youth who participated in our youth sensitization workshops, helped mobilize the National Drugs Enforcement Agency and National Agency on Human Trafficking into action. The enthusiasm shared by the youth “stole the day and stole the shore” with their “depth of commitment” and convictions, they “took hold [and] drove the message to where it […] was needed and heard.” This campaign took place in the rural communities of Jos where illegal drug use, trafficking of girls and forced marriage of underage girls also occurs.
Chief of Du, a rural area where early marriage is commonplace, welcomed the group to his community and granted media interviews. Unfortunately the girls in the rural communities like Du are largely victims of these vices. None of this would have been possible without the Holy Spirit. As a participant said, praise God “for the cooperation we enjoyed from all who participated in the advocacy drive.” The campaign was hugely successful given the number of government agencies who participated and helped spread the word about resources available to the communities.
Members of the community were very grateful. One person said, “Let the young girls hear you. Let them listen and behave, early marriage is destructive to their lives.” Another person shared what they learned about trafficking, “Thank you for letting us know that it is not decent jobs that our young girls go to the cities to pursue. We will be on the alert for any Madam who comes lying about jobs for our girls in the cities.”
AFJN shares in the prayer of a team leader who said “May you remain ever blessed by our gracious God. Thank you and thank you. To the Sisters who joined in the advocacy drive, may you be graciously blessed by our good God. Thank you for your active participation.”
May God bless you.