Tobi Soniyi in Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said his administration’s anti-corruption campaign and the economic programme of diversification will significantly address the lack of job opportunities and deprivation that make Nigerian youths vulnerable to recruitment by human traffickers.
The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr. Femi Adesina, in a statement said Buhari spoke in New York at a meeting on Modern Slavery hosted by the Prime Minister of United Kingdom, Theresa May, on the margins of the 71st Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA71), at the residence of the United Kingdom Permanent Representative to the UN.
The president said: “We are also investing more on infrastructure development, education and health for our people. When the results of our efforts become manifest the attraction of seeking greener pastures abroad will lessen.”
Buhari commended the British Prime Minister for drawing the attention of the international community to such a serious matter to coincide with a time that the global focus was on migration and refugee crisis.
He therefore called for practical and innovative measures “to address all the modern day human tragedies.”
According to him, more worrisome is the fact that human trafficking and modern day slavery have created a dangerous political economy of their own.
“In consequence, this international criminality is defined by the activities of human traffickers that lure unsuspecting victims into forced labour, inhuman treatment, money laundering and prostitution,” he added.
He said Nigeria was ready and willing to partner other countries and international organisations to confront human trafficking.
He said: “We have a strong commitment to combating the menace of modern slavery, and will redouble our efforts to prohibit human trafficking, while providing succour to its hapless victims.”
Buhari assured his audience “to count on the support of Nigeria in dealing with this evil, which constitutes an unacceptable stain on human dignity and conscience in the 21st century.”
On measures taken by the country against the evil practice, he said the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and the Nigeria Immigration Service have taken steps to establish a joint operational working group to combat human trafficking and smuggling of migrants from the country.
“We are aware of the challenge for Nigeria, but our resolve to combat it is strong and unshakable,” the president declared.
Buhari was accompanied to the high-level meeting by Geoffrey Onyeama and Lt-Gen. Abdulrahman Danbazzau (rtd), the Ministers of Foreign Affairs and Interior respectively.