Juliana Taiwo-Obalonye, Abuja
Edo State Governor, Godwin Obaseki, has signed the Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Law, 2018, which is the domestication of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) law, to ensure the eradication of the ugly trend.
He also vowed to eliminate human trafficking by the end of his tenure.
The governor said his target is to reduce human trafficking by 50 percent in 2018 and eliminate it, completely, by 2020, when his first tenure will end.
Obasek, who spoke in Abuja, yesterday, said this will be done by strengthening law enforcement agencies.
He said the state has also decided to overhaul education system as well as improve quality healthcare in the state, as part of plans to eradicate the ugly trend.
Obaseki said the state has also embarked on sensitisation to help the youths reject being trafficked by whatever guise.
He said the state’s strategy to eradicate human trafficking is anchored on four pillars, including “returnee, resettlement and re-integration; reducing irregular migration, eradicating human trafficking and providing quality public services in at-risk communities.”
On his part, European Union (EU) Ambassador, Ketil Karlsen, described those being trafficked as human tragedy, as they face very difficult situations.
He saluted the political will of the governor and the Oba of Benin, Ewuare II and their commitment and willingness to take the bull by the horns.
The Benin monarch had, in March, cursed human traffickers and native doctors who subject Benin sons and daughters to oaths of secrecy, initiate them into cults or encourage violation of the order banning community development associations.
He had warned that anyone persisting should be ready to face the wrath of the gods, and directed the native doctors, present, to revoke the curses and oaths already placed on trafficked victims.
Karlsen said the EU, in conjunction with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM), supported safe and voluntary return of 8,142 Nigerians from Libya, majority of them from Edo State.
He also said the EU has, so far, spent €20 million on specific projects in Edo to facilitate job creation as well as work in 133 communities of Edo with 170,000 beneficiaries.