President of the Senate, Dr. Abubakar Bukola Saraki, Governor of Edo State, Godwin Obaseki and other stakeholders during the Senate Roundtable on Migration and Human Trafficking in Benin City, on Monday resolved to do more action to end irregular migration and human trafficking across the country.
The stakeholders include the Minister of Interior, 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.
Governor Obaseki in his remarks commended Saraki and the Senate for the initiative of holding the sensitization session in the Edo State, and said that the state will continue to fund programmes aimed at protection, prosecution, rehabilitation and reintegration of trafficked victims.
President of the Senate, in his address, lamented the worrisome dimension the illegal migration and trafficking has assumed and said that the Senate will collaborate with all relevant stakeholders to tackle the issue.
Saraki said: “Nigeria currently ranks 23 on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries with the highest number of slaves. Human trafficking is third in the ignoble hierarchy of the commonly occurring crimes in Nigeria, according to UNESCO.
“We are losing sleep over irregular migration and human trafficking; and we are determined, as representatives of the people, to do something about it,” he said.
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.
“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,” he said. “I thank Governor Obaseki for his determined leadership in the face of the crisis, and for being our gracious host for this Roundtable.”
He stated that it is the expectation of the leadership of the Senate that the Roundtable would serve as a springboard to efforts to stem the tide of illegal migration and human trafficking.
“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.”
The EU Ambassador to Nigeria and U.K. Deputy High Commissioner 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 Kettil Karisen – the EU Ambassador to Nigeria during the panel discussion of the subject.