Ighomuaye Lucky, Benin
The United Nations (UN) Special Rapporteur, Ms. Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, has promised that the body and other international agencies will assist Edo State curb human trafficking and their related vices.
Giammarinaro made the promise when she visited Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, in Benin, the state capital, at the weekend.
She said she was in Nigeria and Edo, to assess the incidence of human trafficking and irregular migration and report back to the UN Human Rights Council and the General Assembly, with recommendations.
The international organisation rapporteur said part of her mandate is to drum support for significant improvement of international collaboration in the areas of investigation, prosecution of traffickers; protection and promotion of rights; survival of victims of human trafficking as well as persons vulnerable to the scourge.
She assured that the UN is aware of the plight of Nigerians who travel through Libya and the horrors they are subjected to and added; “we have to act in the area of prevention and give youth hope of a bright future.”
The governor, who was represented by his Chief of Staff, Taiwo Akerele, said the state government had implemented several initiatives to curb the menace, including the implementation of the law establishing the Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking.
“We are doing our best to open up the system so that certain practices that undermine the participation of women in politics and governance are completely eliminated to enable social inclusion of women in politics, governance and development in the state,” Akerele said.
He added that the Obaseki administration is partnering with traditional institutions to ensure the elimination of traditional practices, which undermine the role of women in the society.
Commissioner for Justice and Attorney General, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, who is also chairperson, Edo State Task Force Against Human Trafficking, said the task force has received 35 batches of returnees with 4,000 persons since it commenced work.
He said they will continue to sustain advocacy and sensitisation through which the task force intends to curb, if not eradicate the scourge.
Omorogbe also expressed delight that the collaboration between the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II, and the state government has also helped to check the scourge.
He also disclosed that the task force still faces challenges of “logistics and capacity, weak institutions as well as insufficient international assistance and collaboration,” among others.