No More Lodging of Underage Girls in Hotels, FG Warns

*Awards N100m grants to 200 young entrepreneurs

Adedayo Akinwale in Abuja

The federal government yesterday warned hoteliers across the country not to harbour teenagers and underage girls in their facilities to avoid being sanctioned.
The warning came as the government doled out N100 million grants to 200 Nigerian youths selected from across the country to boost their potential for economic development.

The Minister of Women Affairs, Uju Kennedy-Ohanenye, read the riot act yesterday at the ‘Unlock Training and Grants’ ceremony in Abuja.
The programme, which saw 200 young entrepreneurs receive N100 million, was organised by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education, Abiola Arogundade.
In January 2023, some students of Federal Government College in Ijanikin, Lagos, were caught after absconding from school to lodge female classmates in hotels for sex romps.

The students, who were all boarding school students, had on different occasions jumped the school’s fence with their female counterparts and stayed out of school for days.
It was also gathered that the students involved in the act were between the ages of 14 and 17.
Similarly, in April 2022, a video clip of a 15-year-old boy who was accosted while trying to lodge two girls and another guy in a hotel room went viral on social media.

The teenage schoolgirls, however, took to their heels when the voice behind the camera attempted to probe them on their mission.
However, Kennedy-Ohanenye, has vowed that it would no longer be business-as-usual.
The minister disclosed that hoteliers, especially in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), have been directed to mount a signpost outside their hotels warning prospective clients not to lodge any underage girls in their premises.

She also extended the riot act to proprietors of schools across the country, warning that they should ensure no student would be bullied by either teachers or students.
She said, “Nigeria must be better. From June 20, we have directed hotels to put a sign outside from the Ministry of Women. No lodging of underage girls. (Otherwise) what happened in Niger State will be an understatement of what will happen in the FCT and I mean it.

“No more lodging of underage girls and no more bullying in schools,” she added.

The minister also announced that the federal government had commenced a probe into the distasteful viral clip of 10 Nigerian teenagers who were rescued from neighbòuring Ghana where they were trafficked for prostitution.

Three of the victims, aged between 15 and 16, were said to be from the same parents.

They were reportedly beaten, molested and forced into prostitution without pay.

While explaining their plights, the Chairman of Nigerians in Diaspora Commission NiDCOM, Abike Dabiri-Erewa, said the girls were rescued after a tip-off by NIDO, the umbrella body of Nigerians living in Ghana.

Kennedy-Ohanenye, however, promised that the government would take decisive action on the matter next Monday.

“Women are suffering in this country. Today, we have talked about the need to allow the poor to breathe in this country.

“Meanwhile I am sure you saw the video circulating about our girls taken to Ghana. Did you see it? Very good. Action will start on Monday. You will hear about our action first thing on Monday morning. That is the first thing I am going to approach and see what we can do about it,” she added.

Meanwhile, government doled out N100 million grants to 200 Nigerian youths selected from across the country to boost their potential for economic development.

The grants were disbursed by the Senior Special Assistant to the President on Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship Education, Arogundade, at an ‘Unlock Training’ programme in Abuja.

Arogundade explained that 120 were freshers while the remaining 80 were those already in business who needed financial support to boost their business.

The presentation was the outcome of a six-week campaign initiated by the presidency where youths were asked to record and submit a minute video on their current skills, future plans and how they hope government could assist them achieve their goals.

Aside from solar kiosks, the participants were also offered Certificate of Completion.

 Addressing journalists after the presentation, Arogundade disclosed that the entrepreneurs were trained on the components of a good business plan and money management among others.

She said: “Today, we are giving out N500,000 grants each to 120 winners with the best business plans. We are also giving out honourary awards to 80 persons seen to be doing very well in their Technical, Vocational and Entrepreneurship skills but need support to upscale their businesses.

“I am here to assure you that the President, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu GCFR, is thinking about you, not just because of this programme but because of the numerous initiatives he is creating across the country to promote technical and entrepreneurship education.”

Similarly, in May 2024, the Minister of Youth Development, Jamila Bio-Ibrahim, announced plans to begin reformation and restructuring of the National Youth Service Corps Scheme.

The minister also stated that over 5,000 corps members will have their entrepreneurial ventures funded with about N10 million and that a team to spearhead the review, restructuring, and reformation would be inaugurated soon.

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