By Evelyn Usman
A total number of 5,500 Nigerians are set to be deported from Mali and Libya, over various migration offences ranging from Hunan trafficking, smuggling of migrants, and non possession of valid travel documents.
The first batch of 250 Nigerians from Libya will arrive the country today.
An additional batch of 250 Nigerians would also be deported from same countries next week .
Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons , NAPTIP Julie Okah-Donli, made this disclosure yesterday, during her maiden visit at the agency’s zonal command in Lagos.
She revealed that 5000 Nigerians, mainly victims of human trafficking, were awaiting evacuation back home from Mali.
Okah- Donli who described the trend of deportation of Nigerians from different parts of the world in recent time as frightening, called for the need to change the tide by providing an attractive environment that would keep people gainfully employed.
She said, ” Between February and April, this year, no fewer than 1134 Nigerians were deported from different parts of the world for various offences. Out of the number, 905 were deported from Libya in five batches, 115 from Italy in four batches, 41 from Mali; 26 from Burkina Faso ; 14 from Ghana ; 22 from the United Arab Emirate; one from Cameroon; 8 from Cote-Ivore and two from Togo”.
Declaring total war against human traffickers and organisations covering for them, Okah-Donli said modalities had been put in place to nip activities of human traffickers in the bud, threatening also, that the agency had concluded plans to shut down illegal organisations which kept shelter for rescued human trafficking victims and missing persons, only to use the means to seek funds both at home and abroad.
She said ” “It is time for perpetrators to close shop, give up on the evil trade and look for more genuine businesses. There would be no secret cows, no matter how highly placed. We have made a commitment that out youth population, which represents the prosperity of this country must be rescued and protected from the claws of unscrupulous elements, who do not mean well for Nigeria.
“We are already perfecting our strategy for the “name and shame” policy to ensure that human traffickers are exposed to the world” she added.
Human trafficking , she noted had assumed a global phenomenon of serious “concern that requires collective efforts in order to combat it. This is simply because of the attendant casualties and other negative effects that have characterised the migration aspect of trafficking. It has moved to a well orchestrated criminal network that is designed to deceive even the very best of operatives. It has moved from the era of physical administration of oath of secrecy on victims in person, to the era of digital initiation at the destination and other sacred points of exploitation in the full glare of electronic devices.
We have therefore adopted modern and effective technology, techniques, skills and expertise in investigation and prosecution”
She further revealed hat since inception, the agency had received 4,755 cases, as well as rescued and supported 10,685 victims and secured 323 convictions.
In order to sensitise people on the danger associated with human trafficking, she informed that the agency had begun to sensitise members of the public, even as she called on Nigerians to avail the agency with information that could lead to the apprehension of human traffickers.