Adibe Emenyonu in Benin City
Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, has called on the international community to collaborate more with the Nigerian government in its quest to ending the menace of irregular migration and human trafficking in the country.
He lamented that Nigeria is ranked 23 on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries and that there is need to put a stop to it.
The Senate president noted that international summit which focuses on the crisis in Syria was also required in Nigeria, adding that â€œa silent holocaust of Afrcian humanity is unfolding and that it cannot be allowed to go on.â€
Saraki who made the assertion at the Senate Roundtable on Migration and Human Trafficking in Benin City, the
Edo State capital, yesterday, said: â€œWe are not comforted by the international community raising the alarm about the large number of our citizens within their borders,â€ pointing out that while Nigeria collaborates with destination countries, it also requires an undertaking and mutual enquiry as to whether those countries do not compound the problem with some of their policies.
According to him, â€œWe make bold to ask our international partners: â€˜what have you done and what are the sincere and humane steps taken to bring an end to this crisis? You certainly can do more to collaborate with us because whether we like it or not, you also have a responsibility in this crisis. We have seen international summits on Syria, for example.
â€œWhat we have seen here is also worthy of international intervention. It is a silent holocaust of African humanity unfolding here, and it cannot be allowed to go on. It simply cannot be allowed to go on.
â€œThe theme centres on â€˜Irregular Migrationâ€™, which some refer to as illegal migration and human trafficking-two issues that have become the bane of our existence as a country. 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.
â€œIrregular migration has been a disastrous development for our continent; and the stark realisation has become even more so, and when we narrow the focus to Nigeria, it accounts for the worldâ€™s highest number of irregular migrants going through the Agadez route.
â€œOur citizens represent the fifth largest number of migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea into Europe, and the number of female Nigerians arriving in Italy alone has increased 600 time in just three years.â€
Saraki therefore commended the federal government for taking the bold step in repatriating Nigerians stranded in Libya
On his part, the Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, while welcoming the delegates to the state, said his government has been proactive in dealing with the issues of irregular migration and human trafficking.
He added that the decision to host the delegation was because of the alarming scourge of human trafficking and irregular migration currently being experienced in the state.
Obaseki, while saying the state government considered human trafficking as a modern day slavery and strange to the culture of the people of the state, however expressed optimism that the outcome of the roundtable meeting would be able to stem the ugly tide in the state and the country at large.
Also speaking, the Minister of Interior, Abdulraham Danbazzau, said Edo is not the only state battling with the problem of irregular migration and human trafficking as Kano State also suffers same fate.
The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlsen, who was also in attendance, said in 2017, about 187,000 irregular migrants were registered while Nigeria had 16 percent of those who traveled to Libya.
He said they are ready to provide the needed assistance to end irregular migration and human trafficking, adding that 47 million euro has been committed to assist countries to end the scourge of human trafficking and irregular migration across the African continent.