The Honourable Chief Commissioner, Public Complaint Commission, Ayo Abimbola Yusuf has urged the people of Enugu and South East residents to report activities of Child and Human traffickers, so that they can be made to face the wrath of the law as deterrent to those who might be willing to indulge in such dastardly act.
Hon. Ayo Abimbola Yusuf who was represented by Barr. Adonu Uchechukwu, State Director, Public Complaints Commission, Enugu State, on behalf of the state Commissioner in his remarks, said the activities of this groups are well known in the society and that is why they have been instructed to go into the rural communities and find out how they can be tackled, therefore the need for the workshop to brainstorm among stakeholders on how it can be addressed properly.
He said the systemic and proactive investigation into obnoxious activities of Child/ Human trafficking in South East of Nigeria call for concern and it is part of the reason the workshop is being organized, so as to enable it sensitize the public to keep a close eye on the traffickers who have sold their conscience.
He said, “The activities of these groups are stories we all know. It happened in every community. It exists in my rural community. It has existed several times. So, when we talk of Child trafficking it’s what all of us know about.
“The question is, is it proper for somebody to be deprived of his child, as in, not knowing the whereabouts of your child? And everything about him or her changes? Is it not an embarrassment? It is a national embarrassment. And that is why the National Assembly had to step in and say go down to the cities and convey this information. And find a lasting solution to Child trafficking. And that is the reason we are all gathered here today.
“Maybe we might tell the Federal Government to create another agency or ministry in addition to NAPTIP. And we are here to ensure this message gets to every nook and cranny of the South East. And it is also a call on PCC officials to take this matter seriously and even take it to the local government representatives, so that at the end of the day, we will all be happy for finding solutions to this menace”, he noted.
Meanwhile, Mrs. Ajie Nneka, Zonal Coordinator, National Agency for the Prohibition of Persons, NAPTIP, who is in charge of the South East in her contributions, thanked PCC, the organizers of the program.
She noted that she has been looking for ways of gathering stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking, stressing that it has been a huge blight on the image of the region and the nation. She narrated that what used to be heard about in some other places, has unfortunately become a reality in Enugu and other parts of the South East.
“It is not a misconception but a reality. But that reality is something that is spreading. Why? Because years past, and even now, a lot of concentration is being given to Benin-City on issues of human trafficking especially for the purposes of prostitution. But I want to add in my small voice that, while a lot of concentration is being given by the International community and the government to Benin and its environment, slowly, and gradually at the end of the day, it is spreading to other parts of the country.
“It is unfortunate that we do not have accurate statistics. Data collection is a huge problem for us. But, from the little that we have, it will surprise you how our girls are being trafficked out of the South East and even within for the purposes of prostitution, force labour, child labour, and alms begging. It is a cruel reality.
“We might be in a state of denial but as we continue to deny, the future generations of the South East become worse and a problem. Apart from a depleted future generations, we will have recalcitrants as children, as leaders, but God forbids that will be the case. And that is why I want to thank PCC—the organizers of this workshop for bringing us together to forge a way forward and see a great future generation”, she said.
The Public Complaints Commission is a creation of the Constitution saddled with the responsibility of tackling social and administrative injustice as well as fighting corruption at the grass-roots while NAPTIP was established in 2003 by an Act of the National Assembly to fight against human and child trafficking.
She noted that the south South East region from their records, have rescued 1,663 victims of human trafficking, ranging from sexual exploitation, alms begging; practices associated with slavery and generally exploitative child labour.
The session had in attendance stakeholders which included civil society groups and representatives of other government agencies.