Mr Richard Young, Minister, Deputy Head of Delegation of European Union (EU) to Nigeria and ECOWAS on Monday called for holistic approach to address human trafficking and illegal migration, stressing that no fewer than 60,000 Nigerians are still trapped in Libya.
Young made the call in his address at the inaugural conference of Skills and Entrepreneurship Development Programme (SED-P) in Abuja, while speaking on the theme: “Strengthening a multi-stakeholder partnership and creating cooperation in curbing illegal migration and human trafficking”, organised by Nigerian Young Professional Forum (NYPF).
“The level of illegal migration marks deviation from the past as 80, 000 migrants’ board boats in Italy after having crossed the sub-Saharan and Mediterranean between 2015 and 2017.
“This number is much lower today as they have been in the past; we have roughly 60, 000 Nigerians in some sense, trapped in Libya at the moment.
“Within the same period, 12, 000 people died; meanwhile in 2018, the figure was 2300, with close to 500 people as victims of trafficking,” he said
He maintained that stakeholders must work closely to be able to destroy causes of human trafficking and illegal migration, noting that though migration had good, bad and ugly aspects, there was need for collective efforts to curb illegal migration, which he said was a problem that Nigeria and EU shared in common.
He advised participants at the conference to always promote the good aspects of migration; discourage the bad and eliminate the ugly trend of human trafficking and illegal migration.
Speaking, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), stressed the need for collaboration to proffer solution to human trafficking.
Okah-Donli, represented by Mr Orakwue Arinze, Director (Intelligence) Public Enlightenment of NAPTIP, said that to curb illegal migration would require mobilisation of human resources and energy at every level.
She said 6, 894 cases of trafficking were received, 4, 812 investigated, 5, 923 suspected applicants arrested, 16, 950 victims rescued, 320 convicted, while 395 traffickers were convicted since the establishment of NAPTIP in 2004.
“NAPTIP has made giant strides in the 15 years of its existence; however more still needs to be done and this requires the collaboration of governments and the society, as the agency cannot do it alone,” the Director-General said.
She said the agency would continue to partner with relevant local and international orgnisations, civil societies, faith-based organisations, governments and traditional institutions, to achieve its operational objectives.
She, however, advised Nigerians to shun investment in visa lottery to avoid being duped, warning that it was a scam.
Meanwhile, Mr Moses Siasia, Chairman and Founder of NYPF, said that the event sought to encourage holistic approach to supporting Federal Government’s efforts in fights against human trafficking and illegal migration.
He identified unemployment and insecurity to be main reasons young people indulged in illegal migration, adding that 67 young person benefited from its N500, 000 to N2 million grants under SED-P.
It would be recalled that towards the February election, the Nigerian Government made a spirited effort to evacuate a few thousands of those willing to voluntarily come home. The impetus or enthusiasm has seemingly waned, shortly after the elections.