By Chinedu Eze
The Delta State Governor, Senator Ifeanyi Okowa, has inaugurated a 17-man task force to check human trafficking and irregular migration in the state, with the Commissioner for Justice and Attorney-General of the state, Barrister Peter Mrakpor, as Chairman.
The inauguration of the task force by Okowa in Asaba, recently, was witnessed by the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs Julie Okah-Donli.
Speaking at the ceremony, the governor said the inauguration of a task force became necessary because of the rising number of trafficked persons from the state.
“We are very worried as a state that we occupy high position among the states affected by human trafficking and irregular migration; we are committed as a state to stem the tide that is why we are setting up this serious task force.
“We need to reach out to our people and discourage them from seeking greener pastures that do not exists; irregular migration and human trafficking are evils that have visited our state and it must be checked.
“We will need to get the church, the traditional institution, the youths, all relevant groups to be involved; we need partners for the message to get to a lot of persons within the shortest possible time to check irregular migration and human trafficking,” he stated.
While stressing his administration’s preparedness to carry out reintegration programmes for those who return, Okowa assured the state indigenes that, “We have chosen the right set of persons to be members of the task force and we congratulate them believing that they will carry out their functions diligently.”
Also speaking at the occasion, Okah-Donli commended Okowa for his determination to check human trafficking and irregular migration.
She enjoined the members not to see the task force as money making venture.
“The task force is not a money making venture but, a service to humanity. It is expected that the task force will use the platform to prevent human trafficking, support and protect trafficked persons through a more coordinated approach in the state; develop strategies and state action plans on counter-trafficking issues, carry out programmes for effective reintegration of trafficked victims into the society, work with the state Ministry of Justice on how to protect, assist and provide access to justice for victims of trafficking, among others.”
In his comment, Mrakpor, thanked the governor for the opportunity given him and his team to serve the state and humanity.
“We will do our best to carry out our functions without fear or favour,” he said.
Other members of the task force are Nduka Nwanwenne, Omatsola Williams, Patrick Ukah, Mercy Almona-Isei, Genevieve Mordi, Commissioner of Police, Yinka Adeleke, M.N. Otubu, Ibrahim Liman, Ameh Ocheja, Benito Eze, Charles Oliogu, Daniel Usifor, Azuka Onyebo, Julius Olomukoro, Carolyn Usikpedo and Felix Ofou.