Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah – Donli, has said that human trafficking should be treated as one of the components of terrorism and a major threat to good governance and rapid economic recovery of any country.
She argued that human traffickers should be treated as enemies of the state, adding that the phenomenon should be tackled the same way as the current fight against terrorism in some parts of the country.
According to a statement by Vincent Adekoye of the agency’s Press and Public Relations Unit, the NAPTIP boss stated this while delivering a paper titled “ Mass Exodus of Youths and National Development: A Case of Nigeria – Libya – Europe Migration Trend “ as parts of the activities marking the 16th Ika Ka Mma Annual Lecture organised by the Onu Ika Socio- cultural organisation, an umbrella organisation for the Ika nationalities of Delta State.
The event was aimed at enlightening people across the six geo-political zones of Nigeria on the dangers of human trafficking, child labour and irregular migration among others, so as to reduce the human casualties that have characterised the ugly development.
She said, “Nigerian government over the years and particularly, under the current administration, holds a unique philosophy for national security which is to establish a safe and secure environment.
“Gaps in national security portend a great threat to social and economic goals. Research has proven a strong link between weak migration system and insecurity as migrants sometimes become objects of criminal exploitation,” she explained.
She identified illegal border crossing, document forgery, abuse of human rights, kidnapping, money laundering, drug trafficking, weapon trafficking and violence against persons (VAPs) as offshoot of human trafficking and major components of illicit crime networks that are capable of breaching and sabotaging the positive elements of national security.
On the human trafficking profile of Delta State, the NAPTIP director general said, “Delta State ranks third among source states for victims of human trafficking; after Edo and Kano States.
She added, ”As stated earlier, almost all the states in Nigeria are affected by migration and human trafficking”. Ika community is under the jurisdiction of Benin Zonal Command of NAPTIP which covers Edo and Delta States.
“From inception to June 2018, the agency has rescued a total of 12,939 victims across Nigeria. Out of this number, 822 are from Delta State and 132 representing 16.06 per cent of victims from Delta State, are from Ika community.
“This figure comprises 84 from Ika South and 48 from Ika North -east. From NAPTIP’s record; Ika South Local Government Area (LGA) has the highest number of rescued victims in Delta State, followed by Ugheli North.
“The third in the list is Ethiope East and Ika North-east is in the fourth position. The most affected communities include; Agbor, Umunede, Abavo, Ozanogogo, Owa-Oyibu, among others.”
She added that as at July 2018, the number of victims rescued from Delta State alone rose to 831 from 822, with the addition of nine more victims recorded as at June 2018.
In his response, the Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, expressed sadness over the human trafficking situation in the state and called on parents to advise their children to remain in Nigeria and avail themselves of various opportunities available to them to better their lives.
The governor stated that embarking on deadly journey is not the best alternative to any challenge that may be confronting the country.