Kemi Olaitan in Ibadan
The Nigerian Immigration Service (NIS) yesterday disclosed that Oyo State had become the hot spot for human trafficking with the yearly increase in the number of rescued trafficking victims in Ibadan and its environs.
The Assistant Comptroller, Anti Human Trafficking and Child Labour unit of the NIS, Mr. Foluso Akintola made the disclosure at the public reading of a new book, From Frying Pan to Fire by the Chairman, Editorial Board of THISDAY Newspapers Groups in Ibadan, Oyo State.
Akintola, who was a discussant at the book reading, lamented that Nigeria “is the only country that serves as source, transit and destination for trafficking. The Immigration service in Oyo state has rescued several children of ages between 6 and 10 years.
“These are gross minors while many minors of less than 18 years old have equally been rescued in lbadan and its environs. These are mostly used as house-helps, shop attendants and vendors/hawkers.
“In 2016, we rescued 134 victims and arrested 38 traffickers, 107 end-users with 11 victims, four traffickers processed to NAPTIP. In 2017,139 victims were rescued, one trafficker and one end-user were arrested and processed to NAPTIP.
“In 2018, 163 victims, 27 traffickers arrested while one victim and one trafficker were processed to NAPTIP. In the first quarter of 2019, 28 victims have been rescued, eight traffickers with 12 end-users arrested.”
He said the phenomenon of human trafficking “has become in Nigeria, a big illegal criminal business. Occurrences of these businesses are more prominent in Oyo, Edo and Delta states of Nigeria.
“They are now a major national problem for the already crest fallen Nigeria. The fear in Nigeria of sudden disappearance of children and adults to migration and human trafficking is real and palpable.”
He warned that the problems posed by the issue of human trafficking had far-reaching effects on Nigerian’s image to the outside world, noting that recent media reports “tend to portray Nigeria as a major hub for illicit movements of persons.
He observed that Italy used “to be the destination of most trafficked victims from Nigeria. With high mortality rate on the desert and the Mediterranean Sea, however, the traffickers tend to have changed destination to the Arab world.
“The latest operational system of these traffickers today is a promise of a lucrative job in the Arab world, Saudi Arabia, Qartar, Oman, Libya etc. They recruit ladies from here to be shipped to the Arab world.
“Most of who end up in prostitution, while others employed see the travails of these trafficked persons on all information as house helps known as Shagala,” Akintola explained.
In his remark, Adeniyi said there “is nothing wrong with migration. But the problem is with irregular migration,” thereby urging the federal government “to provide opportunities for Nigerians so as to make the preaching against irregular migration successful.”
According to him, many are no leaving for Asia and Arab countries, among others. The only government tackling trafficking is Edo state. We all need to rise against irregular migration in the country.