The Journalists International Forum For Migration (JIFORM) on today urged the Federal Government to declare a state of emergency against human trafficking in the country.
This is just as the body appealed to the government to defer the evacuation mission beyond the August 25, 2020 deadline to accommodate fresh 435 Nigerian women trafficked and stranded in Oman and Saudi Arabia.
A breakdown of the number showed that Oman has 190 while Saudi Arabia has 235 stranded ladies on separate lists compiled by JIFORM, Synergy Rescue Initiative (Rescue Mission), Rescue Africans in Slavery (RAIS) foundation and the Nigerians community in Diaspora.
JIFORM in an statement signed by its President, Ajibola Abayomi said that a letter detailing names, state of origin, location, phone numbers and other information about the stranded migrants had been forwarded to the Federal Ministry of Foreign Affairs, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons (NAPTIP), National Commission For Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons (NCFRMI), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigerians In Diaspora Commissions (NiDCOM), International Organization for Migration (IOM) and others for further actions.
While commending Governor Makinde of Oyo State for paying for some 55 Oyo State indigenes stranded in Lebanon recently, JIFORM admonished the media to always double check oversea job vacancy adverts by seeking clarifications from NAPTIP and other security agencies where necessary so as to curb some of the strategies being deployed by human trafficking agents to lure the youths to slavery abroad.
The statement noted although NAPTIP was the lead agency on the matter, it however said there was need for collaborative efforts to salvage the situation that needed urgent attention as the Nigerian women were subjected to various inhuman treatments and various unsubstantiated criminal proceedings that had excluded them from linking up with the Nigerian mission abroad.
Ajibola stated that letter addressed to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, NAPTIP and others, became imperative to rescue, rehabilitate and thoroughly investigate those behind the human trafficking business in the country.
“This is time for the President Muhammad Buhari to further show love to Nigerians in pains abroad largely due to their own faults. We understand the rescue operation gulping huge resources will be terminated by August 25, however, for the sake of humanity, we are pleading for an extension.
“We categorically stated that there was need to declare state of emergency on human traffickers in order to save the youths. While we empathised with the victims, we are not unmindful of their ignorance to jump into the offer they paid through their nose and are now regretting.
“The act is condemnable but for the sake of humanity, the nation should not turn deaf ears to the wailing of her citizens abroad having fed up with the ill-treatments meted to them ranging from forced labour, sexual harassment and unpaid wages, the ladies had to escape to different locations while their hosts, mistresses and employers in return initiated various criminal proceedings against them in order to stop them from applying for lawful evacuation,” he lamented.