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South-East among highest in human trafficking, - NAPTIP

Fatima-Waziri-Azi

DG NAPTIP, Fatima Waziri-Azi

By Ifeoma Aka

The Director General (DG) of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi has revealed that the South-East ranks among the regions with the highest human trafficking incidents in the country.

Waziri-Azi said this on Monday at the opening of a one-day workshop organised in Enugu by the International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), in partnership with NAPTIP.

He was represented at the event by the Director of Research and Programme Development in the agency, Mr Josiah Emerole.

The NAPTIP boss said that the essence of the workshop was to validate the report of the baseline carried out for the advocacy project by NAPTIP and ICMPD.

The ICMPD is an inter-governmental organisation with headquarters in Vienna, Austria, with 20 member states.

According to him, the project was carried out in the five states of Enugu, Edo, Delta, Benue and Ogun.

Waziri-Azi said that Enugu was chosen as one of the pilot states because of the high rate of human trafficking in the zone.

He described human trafficking as the second major crime in the world but regretted that “Nigerians see it as a minor crime.”

He encouraged stakeholders to pool resources and collectively fight the menace.

According to him, the fight against human trafficking is a collaborative one because anybody can be trafficked, both young and adult, in the name of making money.

“It is time to say no to sexual exploitation, use of children to make money and organ harvesting because those children are our future hope,” he said.

He urged people to take the campaign to their various communities for effective sensitisation.

In an opening remark, the Head of West Africa Region of ICMPD, Mr Mojisola Sodeinde, lauded the significant steps taken by spme people in the fight against human trafficking.

Sodeinde, represented by ICMPD’s Project Coordinator, Mrs Rhoda Dia-Johnson, thanked their partners from NAPTIP, government officials, educational leaders and members of civil societies at the event.

He said that their commitment was fundamental to the success of the school’s Anti-Trafficking Education and Advocacy Project.

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“The necessity of this project cannot be overlooked, with over 75 per cent of trafficked victims in West Africa being minors, as the urgency of our mission is clear.

“Our collective goal is to embed a strong educational framework within our schools that will not only inform and protect our students but also empower them to be vigilant guardians of their own futures,” he said.

According to Sodeinde, ICMPD promotes innovative, comprehensive and sustainable migration policies to harmonise and make migration management more efficient.

“It also functions as a service exchange mechanism for governments and organisations.

“ICMPD does this by using a holistic three-pillar approach – research, capacity building and migration dialogues, funded by the European Union under the framework of the project Support to free movement of persons and migration in West Africa (FMM),” he said

Sodeinde said that the FMM West Africa project is co-funded by the European Union and ECOWAS and being implemented by IOM, ICMPD and ILO.

“Within this context, ICMPD supports NAPTIP to strengthen the agency’s capacity in the areas of training and public education.

“Through this action, human trafficking concepts are infused into the school curricula at primary and secondary school levels.

“This innovation was achieved in collaboration with the Nigerian Educational Research and Development Council.

He said that ICMPD and NAPTIP recently collaborated with the National Commission for Colleges of Education to infuse trafficking concepts into teacher training curricula for NCE teachers, while updating the NCE minimum standards to include awareness on the issues of trafficking.

“Today, we embark on a crucial journey starting with the selection of 50 schools in Enugu that will become the pillars of our project, where young minds will be nurtured to recognise, resist, and report the dangers of human trafficking.

“Our activities will include indepth discussions and collaborations to finalise the schools’ selection and review and validate our baseline report.

“This report is not just a document; it is a blueprint that will guide our strategies and actions in the coming year.

“As we move forward, let us remember that the essence of our work is to safeguard our future, a future where every child can pursue education without fear, and every community can thrive free from the chains of exploitation,” Sodeinde said.

Also contributing, the Commissioner for Education in Enugu State, Prof. Leonard Mbah, represented by his Permanent Secretary, Mr Patrick Ochi, promised to take the sensitisation to secondary schools, where clubs would be formed to educate students on the dangers of the crime.

Also, the Chairman, South-East Traditional Rulers Council, Chief Samuel Asadu, urged the organisation to partner celebrities to achieve speedy awareness. (www.nannews.ng)

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