By Osaigbovo Iguobaro Benin
Senate President, Bukola Saraki on Monday, read the riot act to human traffickers and their collaborators, saying that the federal government would adopt the carrot and stick approach to curb the menace of irregular migration and human trafficking in the country.
He made the assertion at the Senate Round table on Migration and Human Trafficking held in Benin City, the Edo State capital.
“Let me make it abundantly clear that Nigeria is willing to collaborate with all countries of the world on irregular migration.
“With our international partners, we should be able to work out a carrot-and-stick approach that gives our people the incentive to stay on the continent and strive.
“Every human being deserves his or her own place in the sun – and for many, that place in the sun is here, in Africa – but they have to stay in order to find it”, he said.
Saraki lamented that Nigeria is ranked 23rd on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries and that there is need to put a stop to it.
“The theme centres on Irregular Migration – which some refer to as Illegal Migration – and Human Trafficking; two issues that have become a bane of our existence as a nation. Nigeria currently ranks 23 on the Global Slavery Index of 167 countries with the highest number of slaves. Human trafficking is third in the ignoble hierarchy of the commonly occurring crimes in Nigeria, according to UNESCO.
“Irregular migration has been a disastrous development for our continent; and the stark realisation becomes even more so, when we narrow the focus to Nigeria – which accounts for the world’s highest number of irregular migrants going through the Agadez Route,”he said.
He, however, commended the federal government for taking the bold step in repatriating Nigerians stranded in Libya.
He noted that the round table meeting is intended to draw attention to the situation, to give confidence to Nigerians and to let them know that they are troubled and are losing sleep over irregular migration and human trafficking; and we are determined, as representatives of the people, to do something about it.
He said the irregular migration of Africans to faraway countries – especially in the Western hemisphere – is not new, but it has assumed a much more worrying dimension in recent times.
On the part of the Edo State governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, said his government has been proactive in dealing with the issues of irregular migration and human trafficking.
He revealed that the decision to host the delegation was because of the alarming scourge of human trafficking and irregular migration currently experienced in the state.
Also speaking, the Minister of Defense, Abdulrahama Danbazau said Edo state is not the only state battling with the problem of irregular migration and human trafficking but Kano State also suffer same fate.
He said migration in itself is not bad as money running into several billions has been remitted to the country by Nigerian migrants abroad, explaining that one major concern is the trans-boarders criminals who exploit and subject the migrants to horrible experiences.
The European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Ketil Karlsen said in 2017, about 187,000 irregular migrants were registered while Nigeria is having 16 percent of those who are traveling to Libya.