By Adeyemi Adeleye
A Nigerian author and novelist, Gbenga Sokefun, has called on African leaders to beam searchlight on human trafficking of the male child.
Sokefun, the author of a fiction, “Adigun”, in a release made available to the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos said that trafficking of the African male child had received far less attention, despite the simple fact that it existed.
According to him, the phenomenon of human trafficking, though as old as human society, is receiving global attention and considerable political effort is being applied to the fight against it.
He said that the focus of these efforts had been primarily on female children in general, including African female children trafficked for purposes of prostitution and other forms of indentured servitude.
He said: “The pressures of poverty and the inherent psychological damage of colonialism have resulted in a brisk trade of young African boys and men under the auspices of narcotics smuggling.
“The perpetrators have created a pathway for the African male child, whose solution to the inadequacies of the continent is escape to the ‘greener’ pastures of the Americas, Europe or anywhere away from the continent of Africa.
“They prey on the dreams and desires of these gullible children who seek a better life on other continents.
“They offer alternatives to the common avenues for illegal migration – stowing away on merchant vessels, walking miles into the Sahara, or visa violations – exploiting the reality that the coming of age of the African child has become indistinguishable from the desire to reach western world.”
Expounding the menace in his book, “Adigun”, published by Europe Books, Sokefun said that human trafficking of African male child has come of age.
According to him, the book, “Adigun”, is his rendition of this reality, while conveying the beauty of the African tradition and picturesque natural environment; showing the world the disparate elements of the coming of age of the African male child.
He explained that the title character, in his mid-teens, felt constrained to head out to the foreign land and was lured into a trap by evil adults.
Sokefun said that he clearly highlighted the harsh reality of the journey and the truth that awaits the trafficked.
He added: “Adigun, is an intriguing novel, playing across three continents, that illustrates the delicate inter-play of diverse cultural influences in a sprawling narrative that spans several decades.
“This story captures the enduring power of friendship, family and human bonding that survives (and often conquers) cultural dislocation.
“Adigun describes the experiences of two West African boys, forced by different (though related) circumstances to spend their late teens and early adulthood in separate Western countries.
“One in the UK and the other in the U.S., they both struggle to discover themselves under the dual burdens of survival in foreign lands, while still contending with the pressures of their native cultures.
“Both stray to the edges of criminality. Both cross the line, each dealing with blurred moral lines in their distinct ways, and end up reuniting with surprising answers to their questions about what is really important in life.”
He said that the the story shifted between the sun-drenched, tropical paradise of the West African town of Jobore and its environs, foggy London, Chicago, Washington, and Maryland, while featuring a suspenseful (and often amusing) adventure in Amsterdam.
According to him, the earlier years are mainly seen through the eyes of the main character, as he grows up in the Nigerian town of Jobore, before going on to secondary school in Tuke.
Sokefun said that series of mishaps led the main character to fall into the hands of hard men who roped him into a murder plot that ended with him also trafficking narcotics to New York.
Explaining the book further, he said that the main character narrowly escaped from the authorities in New York which eventually led him to Washington, where a cartel boss saved his life and takes him in.
Analysing the main character, the writer said, “Adigun is a precocious, energetic child, with an oblivious attraction to adventure and a propensity for getting in trouble.
“He is smart in a distracted way and his energies are untethered by any particular longterm ambitions.
“In sharp contrast is Chike, Adigun’s neighbour in Jobore. Crisp, disciplined, and studious, Chike arouses Adigun’s suspicion and admiration in equal measure, making for a tumultuous, on-and-off friendship that ends when Chike’s family moves away in pursuit of his father’s fortune.
“This is where their paths diverge until their mid-teens, when they meet again under dangerous circumstances, conspiring to execute a deception that will affect their lives for decades to come.
“They part ways once more until fate, or a series of uncanny coincidences throws them violently together again after almost twenty years.”
He explained that both of the main characters faced the fundamental challenges of becoming men under the extended shadows of their fathers.
He said that for Adigun, the challenge included the psychological schism caused by trying to reconcile his loyalties to his biological father and his adoptive father.
Sokefun said that Adigun’s moral compass was formed by his biological father, who fell short of his own standards, betrayed his family and sold out his son.
According to him, on the other hand, his adoptive father, a criminal, has provided Adigun with a safe haven, material security, and a sense of family.
“Even if it is a family of drug peddlers and murderers. Adigun must find his own path to maturity.”
Speaking further, the author said that Chike, the second character, was determined to break free of his billionaire father’s control and build his legacy, reputation, and fortune.
Sokefun said that Chike broke several rules to achieve his success until he discovered secrets about his father that brought him closer to the man, and ultimately back into his inheritance- a multi-billion-Dollar pharmaceutical empire that is riddled with intrigue, betrayal and violence.
“Both of the main characters are forced to confront the consequences of their actions in business and relationships and, in their disparate bids to correct their errors, they are once more reunited in a violent climax that highlights the importance of brotherhood and trust, as well as the dual nature of man.
“This sets the stage for a reset in the main character’s life, the story ending with him facing another moral choice,” the author said. (NAN)
Edited by Folasade Adeniran