By Desmond Agbama



Illegal migration and human trafficking has become a cankerworm that has eaten very deep into the fabric of the Nigerian Society. Many young men and women including children have become victims of illegal migration and human trafficking. Many Nigerians who have been trafficked illegally with the intention of going through the desert, and across the Mediterranean Sea to Europe have been stranded in Libya, Morocco and other North African countries. Majority of them are subjected to all forms of inhuman treatment, including slave labour, prostitution, while others are induced with hard drugs and their organs like kidney are harvested and sold. Some are killed for no just reason by those involved in this illicit business.

Investigations revealed that some Nigerians are involved in this illegal migration and human trafficking business. They usually lured innocent and unsuspecting young Nigerians into it, convincing them and assuring them of juicy job when they get to Europe. They exploit them financially and even abuse them sexually on the way. According to report by the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), the victims are made to swear to an oath, while the hair in their pubic and private parts are shaved to prepare charms that cast magic spell on the person who is trafficked. According to the Director-General of NAPTIP, this has made it rather difficult for the victims of human trafficking to divulge information that would lead to the arrest of the traffickers to the law enforcement agents.

While on a courtesy visit to Oba Ewuare II in the Oba Palace, Benin City, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah Danli informed His Royal Majesty that Edo State is strongly linked to human trafficking in Nigeria and called for a synergy to tackle the scourge.

However, before the visit of the Director-General of NAPTIP to the Oba of Benin, His Royal Majesty, Oba Ewuare II have condemned human trafficking and illegal migration at different fora. For instance, during the formal inauguration of the State Council of Traditional rulers and Chief in Government House, Benin City and during the visit of the Spiritual Leader of Spirit andLife Family Bible Church, Oba Ewuare II condemned in strong terms the illegal acts of human trafficking and migration. In a recent publication on Vanguard Newspaper by the Benin Traditional Council, the Oba of Benin said the devastating menace of human trafficking has become worrisome pointing out that some of the Libyan returnees have returned hardened by the experience to now constitute criminal elements in the society.

The Benin Monarch has always called for concerted efforts especially from government and corporate bodies to discourage illegal migration and human trafficking in the society.

However, His Royal Majesty had commended the Federal Government and international organization on migration for their efforts to expose the illicit trade and rescue Nigerians subjected to inhuman treatment in Libya.

Nevertheless, Oba Ewuare II had stated that the fight against human trafficking cannot be left to federal agency and state government alone, rather there should be synergy of all stakeholders. Towards this end, the Oba of Benin calls for rehabilitation programmes to be put in place with the support of the financial institutions such as Bank of Industries, LAPO, corporate bodies under the CSR policies. The Oba of Benin Foundation is willing to collaborate with individual philanthropists, members of international community, embassies and corporate organizations to fight against human trafficking and illegal migration, for which Edo people would be quite appreciative.

The Palace of the Oba of Benin is ready to cooperate in all front, which explains why there is a directive to all Igie-Ohen and Benin Traditional Religion Practitioners to do everything possible to discourage the promoters of human trafficking, kidnappers and criminals that have been the cause of security challenges in the state. Instead of fortifying them with spiritual powers, they should report them to the law enforcement agents.

The Oba of Benin has also called on the State Government to set up the Vigilante and Neighbourhood Watch Groups from the villages up to the towns and city.

At this point, it must be realized that it would be difficult to combat human trafficking and illegal migration in the society, if the economy is not improved and if job is not provided for the jobless youths. The reason why Youths want to migrate out of Nigeria is to seek for better life in foreign countries. If there are jobs in Nigeria and the nation’s leaders make life meaningful for the citizens no Nigerian would like to check out of the country. The human traffickers are taking advantage of the poor economy and lack of jobs to exploit Nigerians and subject them to all forms of dehumanizing treatments.

Be that as it may, for those still nursing the idea of migrating out of Nigeria using illegal means, they should think twice, and learn from the experiences of those already rescued from Libya. If you must migrate out of Nigeria, endeavour to use the most acceptable and legal means, so that you will not be treated as an outlawed in a foreign country.

For those human traffickers, they should refocus their mind toward legitimate business, because human trafficking is as bad as armed robbery and ritualists. The money realised when you subject your fellow human beings to slavery and dehumanising treatment is cursed for life, and it is worth nothing, but total condemnation before God and man. So learn to desist from it.

There are other legitimate things to do here in Nigeria that can fetch millions of Naira at the long run. For example agriculture, tourism, fashion and design, interior decoration, event and hospitality business and many more can be lucrative if well harnessed and exploited.

Let everyone say no to human trafficking and illegal migration. It is evil and not good for humans and the society. Let us join hands with the Oba of Benin, State and Federal government to eliminate the social menace in our society.




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