By: Joy Odor/Kaduna
The President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and other stakeholders have lamented the worrisome dimension the illegal migration and trafficking has assumed, saying the Senate will collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to tackle the issue.
The stakeholders, who gave the assurance during the Senate Roundtable on Migration and Human Trafficking in Benin City on Monday, include the Minister of Interior, Alhaji Abduraman Dambazzau, the European Union (EU), United Kingdom, International Organization on Migration, the National Agency for the Prohibition on Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and Civil Society Organizations resolved to do more to end irregular migration and human trafficking across the country.
According to the Chief Press Secretary to the President of the Senate, Mr. Sanni Onogu in a press statement and made available to newsmen in Kaduna State disclosed that Nigeria currently ranks 23 on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries with the highest number of slaves.
Dr. Saraki also pointed out that human trafficking ranked third in the ignoble hierarchy of the commonly occurring crimes in Nigeria.
“We are losing sleep over irregular migration and human trafficking and we are determined as representatives of the people to do something about.
“We have seen the bleak images of coffins of 26 Nigerian girls who were laid to rest in Italy last November. This is what brings us today to ancient Benin.
“The trafficking of young males has overtaken females in this state for the first time, and now stands at 63 per cent. I thank Governor Obaseki for his determined leadership in the face of the crisis, and for being our gracious host for this Roundtable.
“Clearly, something is wrong in the way we manage citizens’ security, border security as well as international cooperation and collaboration,” he said.
“This Roundtable is designed to help answer some of the niggling questions. To identify root causes and the various dimensions of the problem, and work out a way forward” Saraki lamented.
In his remark, Governor Obaseki commended Senate President Saraki and the Senate for the initiative of holding the sensitization session in Edo State, adding that the state will continue to fund programmes aimed at protection, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked victims.
He lamented that Nigeria has lost too many young people who have died in the desert and in the sea on the unpredictable treks who otherwise would have led productive lives in their home country.
Governor Obaseki mentioned that it is the expectation of the leadership of the Senate that the Roundtable would serve as a springboard efforts to stem the tide of illegal migration and human trafficking.
Also in his speech during the panel discussion, the EU Ambassador to Nigeria and U.K. Deputy High Commissioner Mr. Kettil Karisen pledged to support efforts of relevant stakeholders aimed at eradicating the menace.
“It is wonderful to see democracy in action, with this lively discussion here. Many European countries can learn from this” said EU Ambassador.