Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
President Muhammadu Buhari has said that mere anniversary celebration of 400 years of abolition of slave trade was not enough, insisting that genuine actions must be put in place to get rid of the menace.
This was his position in the opinion published in the Washington Post newspaper, to mark United Nations‘International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and its Abolition on August 23rd.
According to him: “We must use it as a platform to eliminate slavery in all its present-day forms. We should reflect in memory to find a better future, one that should ensure freedom for all.”
In the article titled: “Slavery still exists. We must take action,” he said slavery is not just a campaign of hatred; it is the pursuit of profit. One way to extinguish it in its current forms, therefore, is to make it economically unfeasible.”
According to President Buhari: “This means making sure that any anti-slavery laws have a bite, come with strong penalties and are enforced.
“It is also vital to have a robust tip-off and reporting system. Where this once meant detecting ships, today the signs are less conspicuous. The public must be shown how to see what is hidden in plain sight, particularly signs of suspicious behavior. This might seem broad. But vagueness should not give rise to the reluctance to report anything that could be smuggling or forced servitude. If something doesn’t look right, report it, for you could be securing another human’s freedom.”
The President said Nigeria on its part through its anti-trafficking agency has rolled out the “Not for Sale” campaign “to protect against the deceptions of human smugglers, helping those who might be vulnerable to false promises see through the ruse and say no. These prevention programmes are crucial.
“The appearance of slavery today might have changed. The institution has not. There are no radical solutions to conjure, only political will. But on this, we can learn from the past, the shadows in which modern slavery proliferates today. it is not enough to mark this 400th anniversary.”
“As we reflect on this day, International Day for the Remembrance of the Slave Trade and Its Abolition, it is clear slavery did not only thrive then. It still thrives today. Across the world, it is estimated there are as many as 40 million men, women, and children living in forced servitude. They are the industrial victims of a business many believe was abolished hundreds of years ago. They are the modern enslaved” Buhari noted.