From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Government has restated its commitment to the fight against human trafficking, in view of the international embarrassment and shame the country has been subjected to by the illicit trade.
To this end, the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN) has reiterated government’s commitment to fully support the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in the fight against the scourge.
He made the disclosure, yesterday, at a National Stakeholders Consultative Forum (NSCF) organised by NAPTIP to mark the World Day of Dignity for Victims of human trafficking slated for July 30, 2017.
Malami, who was represented by a director in his ministry, Francis Oni, lamented that human trafficking has deflated the population of the country by the large number of deaths recorded through the tortuous journey across the Sahara dessert and the Mediterranean Sea.
“Whatever it takes to make NAPTIP succeed in this task, the Federal Government is ready to provide, as no stone will be left unturned in this fight against human trafficking,” Malami assured.
In her welcome remarks, Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli disclosed that Nigeria was downgraded in the watch lists in June, 2017 by the US Department of State Trafficking in persons report.
This, according to her, means that the government of Nigeria did not fully meet the minimum standards for the elimination of trafficking.
She, however, explained that the report was not a reflection of the efforts of NAPTIP, which has continued to set standards globally, but an appraisal of actions of all forms of government as well as civil society.
Specifically, Nigeria was downgraded because of allegations that Nigeria Armed Forces were using children as child soldiers in the North East.
Okah-Donli expressed hope that the meeting would provide opportunity for extensive discussions and adoption of far-reaching measures to deepen the involvement of states and civil society organisations in the collective effort to rid the country of the scourge of human trafficking.
Activities lined up to mark the event include a public lecture on human trafficking, which will have in its attendance, the wife of the President, Hajia Aisha Buhari, Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan, (keynote speaker) and justice minister.
Sir Kelvin Hyland, the United Kingdom’s Anti-Slavery Commissioner, will be the guest lecturer.
Meanwhile, a walk against human trafficking is scheduled to take place on Saturday, July 29.