Five hundred and forty Nigerians are set for deportation from Libya, beginning from Aug. 10, Julie Okah-Donli, Director-General, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP), has said.
Mrs. Okah-Donli disclosed this on Wednesday in Osogbo, at the inauguration of the North-West Zonal Command Office of the agency.
She said the deportees would be brought back to Nigeria in three batches of 180 each.
The NAPTIP boss said more than 2,000 Nigerians were deported from various parts of the world from February till date, over various migration offences, including human trafficking.
Mrs. Okah-Doni disclosed that the agency had rescued and supported more than 12,000 victims of human trafficking, and also secured 325 convictions since its inception in 2003.
She decried the rising trend of deportation of Nigerians from different parts of the world, especially in Africa, and described the situation as “frightening”.
“Such massive deportations are not good for us as a people. Government at all levels must take steps to halt it by initiating measures that will reduce the vulnerability of our people to being trafficked.
“We must also strive to enlighten our people to resist the temptation to leave the country at all cost,” she said.
Mrs. Okah-Donli, who described human trafficking as a modern day slavery, urged stern measures to end it.
She reaffirmed NAPTIP’s commitment to implementing the Trafficking in Persons(Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act of 2015, and declared that there would be no sacred cows.
Mrs. Okah-Donli identified Osun, Ekiti and Ondo among the endemic states in trafficking in persons in Nigeria, saying all hands must be on deck to change the trend.
“Nigeria is a source, transit and destination country. Women and young girls are recruited for sexual and labour exploitation in parts of Europe, the Middle East and even within the African continent.
“This calls for concerted action by all as Nigerians cannot make meaningful progress in its human capital development index, with a sustained depletion of her young and brightest stars.”
Gov. Rauf Aregbesola, who was represented by his Special Adviser on Security Matters, Tope Adejumo, promised that the state government would collaborate with the agency to minimise human trafficking.
In his remarks, a former governor of the state, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who is also the royal ambassador of the agency, said he was ready to support the agency in its war against human trafficking.
Mr. Oyinlola urged the agency to take the campaign against human trafficking to the grassroots, using the native language as a means of communication.