Human trafficking remains a major threat to good governance and rapid economic recovery of any nation, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has said.
“Human traffickers should be treated as enemy and for that the phenomenon should be tackled the same way as the current fight against terrorism in some parts of the country”, the director general, NAPTIP, Julie Okah – Donli, said.
According to a statement by the Press and Public Relations Unit (PPRU) of NAPTIP, Adekoye Vincent, which was made available to PREMIUM TIMES on Thursday, Mrs Okah –Donli stated this while delivering a paper in Ika, Delta State.
The statement said the paper titled “Mass Exodus of Youths and National Development: A Case of Nigeria – Libya – Europe Migration Trend” was part of the activities to mark the 16th Ika Ka Mma Annual Lecture organised by the Onu Ika Socio-cultural organisation, an umbrella organisation for the Ika Nationalities of Delta State.
Mrs Okah – Donli disclosed that victims of human trafficking are ready tools in the hands of any trafficker who could use them for sundry nefarious purposes including any activities that pose threat to the security of the nation.
She said the Nigerian government over the years and particularly, under the current administration, holds a unique philosophy for National Security which is to establish a “safe and secure environment’’.
According to her, research has proven a strong link between weak migration system and insecurity as migrants sometimes become objects of criminal exploitation.
She identified illegal border crossing, document forgery, abuse of human rights, kidnapping, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapon trafficking and violence against persons (VAPs) as offshoot of human trafficking and major components of Illicit crime networks that are capable of breaching and sabotaging the positive elements of national security.
Commenting on the human trafficking profile of Delta State, the director general said the state ranks third among source states for victims of human trafficking; after Edo and Kano states.
“As stated earlier, almost all the states in Nigeria are affected by migration and human trafficking. Ika community is under the jurisdiction of Benin Zonal Command of NAPTIP which covers Edo and Delta States.
“From inception to June 2018, the Agency has rescued a total of 12939 victims across Nigeria. Out of this number, 822 are from Delta state and 132 (representing 16.06% of victims from Delta State) are from Ika Community.
“This figure comprises 84 from Ika South and 48 from Ika North East. From NAPTIP’s record; Ika South LGA has the highest number of rescued victims in Delta State, followed by Ugheli North. The third in the list is Ethiop East and Ika North East is in the fourth position. The most affected communities include; Agbor, Umunede, Abavo, Ozanogogo, Owa-Oyibu, among others.
“By the end of July 2018, the number of victims rescued from Delta State alone rose to 831 from 822, with the addition of 9 more victims recorded as at June 2018” she disclosed.
The Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa, in his response expressed sadness at the human trafficking situation in the state and called on parents to advise their children to remain in Nigeria and avail themselves of various opportunities available to them to better their lives.
Mr Okowa added that embarking on deadly journey is not the best alternative to any challenge that may be confronting the nation.
The event, according to the statement, was part of the strategic awareness creation plan by NAPTIP in partnership with stakeholders to enlighten people across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria on the dangers of human trafficking, child labour and irregular migration among others so as to reduce the human casualties that have characterised the ugly development.