From Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Federal Government has mandated the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to carry out a comprehensive screening of all members of Nigeriaâ€™s contingent to the World Cup in Russia, which commences on June 14.
The move is aimed at checkmating possible incidences of human trafficking, says a statement from the Press and Public Relations Unit of the agency.
“To this end, all members of the Nigeria Supporters Club, large delegation and other organised bodies are to submit the list of members traveling to Russia to NAPTIP for screening after which a clearance Certificate will be issued to enable them travel out of the country for the soccer fiesta”, the statement read.
According to Vincent Adekoye, who signed the statement, the decision was the outcome of the meeting between officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports led by the Minister, Mr. Solomon Dalung, management of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) led by the Director General, Dame Julie Okah – Donli and officials of the Embassy of Russia in Nigeria.
The statement recalled that the Director General of NAPTIP, had two weeks ago, while briefing newsmen, alerted on plans by some unscrupulous persons working in collaboration with some suspected human traffickers, to use the occasion of the World cup to traffic Nigerians for sexual and labour exploitation.
“The NAPTIP boss stated that available intelligence indicated that some of the suspected human traffickers have commenced the process of recruiting vulnerable Nigerians and conscripting them into unauthorised Supporters Clubs and unrecognised delegation for the purpose of ensuring easy passage after which such victims are assisted to defect at Moscow”, he said.
Speaking at the meeting held to review preparations of Nigeria for the 2018 FIFA World Cup finals, the minister said that “In order to ensure that some suspected human traffickers do not feast on Nigerian youths by trafficking them under the guise of football fans, NAPTIP shall carry out thorough screening of all contingents to the game, issue them a clearance certificate that will enable the officers of the Nigerian immigration Service (NIS) to allow them to board at the various exit point in the country”.
To this end, he assured that his ministry would provide all the necessary assistance to NAPTIP in order to effectively carry out the assignment.
Earlier, NAPTIP’s DG disclosed that the agency was concerned over the fate of several victims of human trafficking currently stranded in Russia and cannot afford to have more Nigerian in the same situation.
The NAPTIP boss pointed out that apart from preparing the fans for the trip through proper screening, the agency would also monitor them on arrival to ensure that they did not defect.
She promised to ensure swift screening and clearance of all intending football supporters knowing fully that the assignment was time-bound.