Alex Enumah in Abuja
The federal government thursday reiterated its determination to stamp out the business of trafficking humans by promising to hunt down and ensure the successful prosecution of all alleged persons involved in the illicit trade.
The Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), made the pledge yesterday at the National Stakeholders Consultative Forum (NSCF) organised by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The event was in commemoration of the World Day of Dignity for Victims of human trafficking slated for July 30, 2017.
The minister who was represented by a Director in the Ministry of Justice, Francis Oni, also pledged governmentâ€™s full support to the agency in routing the menace from the Nigerian society.
According to Malami, the federal governmentâ€™s decision was based on the international embarrassment and shame the activities of human trafficking has caused the country.
He lamented that human trafficking has deflected the population of the country by the large number of deaths recorded through the tortuous journey across the Sahara desserts and the Mediterranean Sea.
â€œWhatever it takes to make NAPTIP succeed in this task, the federal government is ready to provide as no stone will be left unturned in this fight against human trafficking,â€ Malami promised.
Earlier in her welcome remarks, the Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed that Nigeria was downgraded from Tier two to Tier two watch lists in June 2017 by the US Department of State Trafficking in persons report.
The implication, she said, is that government should be up and doing in the fight against trafficking in persons, as the downgrade means that the Federal Government of Nigeria does not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
â€œThe report is not a reflection of the efforts of NAPTIP which has continued to set standards globally, but an appraisal of actions of all forms of government as well as civil society. Specifically, Nigeria was downgraded because of allegations that Nigeria Armed Forces are using children as child soldiers in the North-east,â€ she said.
Okah-Donli, however, expressed hope that the meeting will provide opportunity for extensive discussions and adoption of far-reaching measures to deepen the involvement of states and civil society organisations in the collective effort to rid the country of the scourge of human trafficking.
Other activities lined up to mark the event include a public lecture on human trafficking which will have in its attendance, the wife of the president, Hajia Aisha Buhari, AGF, Malami, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja who will be the keynote speaker and Sir Kelvin Hyland, UKâ€™s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, will be the guest lecturer, and a Walk Against Human Trafficking scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 29, 2017.