Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo State has said that no fewer than 10,000 indigenes of the state were trafficked in the last one year.
He disclosed that more than 3,000 deaths were recorded among the trafficked persons.
Obaseki, who made the disclosure yesterday while presenting the state’s 2018 Appropriation Bill of N146.6 billion to the House of Assembly, said that Edo State has a major crisis of human trafficking and modern day slavery to contend with.
“We are particularly concerned at the incident of human trafficking because, as you recall Mr. Speaker during our visit to the Italian parliament last week, the dangers of human trafficking were made known to us much more than we ever knew.
“It is on record that from Edo State alone, over 10,000 young people have been trafficked within the last one year with almost 3,000 of them losing their lives. Mr. Speaker, you will agree with me that we have a crisis in our hands and we should address it in the budget,” Obaseki told the lawmakers.
He, however, noted that the state government has taken a tough stand on human trafficking in order to protect the very vulnerable in the society.
The governor said that the state government had sent a Bill to the House for consideration to strengthen the fight against human trafficking in the state.
Obaseki pointed out that he has set up a taskforce in collaboration with Civil Society Organizations (CSOs) and foreign governments to nip in the bud human trafficking.
“We have taken a very tough stance on the crisis of human trafficking and modern day slavery to protect the very vulnerable citizens in our society.
“We have established a task force to work with civil societies and other stakeholders, including foreign governments to address the push and pull factors encouraging human trafficking.
“I am glad to announce that as we speak, the state’s draft bill against trafficking in persons is being considered by the state House of Assembly for passage into law.”
Meanwhile, Vice President Yemi Osinbajo yesterday summoned the heads of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) and the Refugees Commission to the presidential villa over immigration issues facing the country.
The Federal Government said that no fewer than 11,600 migrants Nigerians are facing repatriation from different parts of the world.
The meeting at the villa was to review the condition of Nigerian migrants in different part of the world.
President Muhammadu Buhari had, in an interactive session with the Nigerian community in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire, pledged that his administration would evacuate the remaining Nigerians stranded in Libya while attempting to cross the Mediterranean to Europe.
In his opening remark before the meeting, Osinbajo hailed the comment of the President that all Nigerians who were stranded in the hostile country would be given an opportunity to return to the country.
He also recalled how the President reiterated the commitment of his administration to ensure that young Nigerian men and ladies were no longer exposed to the huge danger involved in wandering through the Sahara Desert and eventual attempt to cross the sea.
Osinbajo, who said it was necessary to sensitise young Nigerians with the danger involved in moves to cross the Mediterranean after being brainwashed by unscrupulous individuals, said it had become imperative for them to review the situation and take a position on how to halt the trend.
While recalling a CNN report that some of the victims are being sold in Libya, Osinbajo said it was necessary to brainstorm on the matter with a view to coming up with a well-prepared position on how to tackle the menace.
Speaking to State House correspondents after the meeting, the CEO of Refugees Commission said: “A Committee has been set up consisting of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NAPTIP, the Refugee Commission and NEMA to come up with terms of reference as to how to go about solving the issue of Nigerian migrants and also what happened in Italy.”
In another development, no fewer than 4,000 Nigerian refugees returned home from Niger Republic in the past one month, the United Nations Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (UN-OCHA), has said.
OCHA said in its North-East Humanitarian Situation Report that the returnees were registered in various locations in Borno State for the month of October.
The fact sheet showed that 1,470 returnees were registered at Gwoza; 498 Kukawa, 374 Ngala and 250 persons recorded at Dikwa.
OCHA explained that the affected persons were forced to flee their homes in the heat of Boko Haram insurgents’ attacks in the North-East.
According to the UN agency, humanitarian organisations had mobilised and provided shelter and clothing items for the returnees.
It said that humanitarian bodies had also scaled up activities to provide emergency shelter to the displaced persons and address the problem occasioned by the rainy season.
It disclosed that about 688, 314 persons were captured in biometric registration exercises in Bama, Damboa, Konduga and Ngala Local Government Councils of Borno, as well as Madagali and Yola South in Adamawa. (New Telegraph)