BEVERLY HILLS, December 12, (THEWILL) – Lately, there has been an increase in the massive deportation of Nigerians from the West, Middle East and West African Countries. According to statistics from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), over 1,134 Nigerians who reside illegally abroad were deported in 2017 alone.
Majority of these deportees were from Libya, Mali, Saudi Arabia, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and Italy. Sadly, many of them were ferried to these places by Nigerian human traffickers, in collaboration with some shady individuals.
NAPTIP Director General, Mrs. Julie Okah-Donli, disclosed that the agency had since its inception in 2003, supported more than 12,000 victims of human trafficking, and also secured 325 convictions.
Of great worry is the fact that more people are making desperate incursions into these countries, without learning a lesson from the trafficking saga. Unfortunately too, many of them have drowned in the Mediterranean Sea or in the deserts in the process of this do-or-die migration in search of the phantom good jobs they were promised by their traffickers. In the midst of this is the tragic killing of 26 Nigerian female migrants, who in their despondency were recently reportedly massacred in the sea on their way to Europe.
It is sad to note that most of these illegal migrants, who would have been more productive at home, are lured abroad into prostitution and slavery.
THEWILL urges the federal, state and local governments to live up to their duties by creating employment opportunities for the people that they govern, as well as create a conducive environment to make life worth living in the country.
If NAPTIP must be relieved of the burden of the anti-trafficking battle, the federal government must also address the harsh economic environment, which is forcing these Nigerians out of the country’s shores.
The importance of stopping this menace was aptly painted by Okah-Donli when she stressed thus: “Such massive deportations are not good for us as a people. Government at all levels must take steps to halt it by initiating measures that will reduce the vulnerability of our people to be trafficked.”
THEWILL strongly believes that it is imperative for the National Orientation Agency (NOA) to design campaign messages in English and local languages to make parents and guardians, as well as prospective migrants to understand the danger in illegal travel.
No government worth its salt would allow its citizens to be so debased due to the ineptitude of its leaders. The federal government must demonstrate that it is committed to the NAPTIP struggle by immediately creating opportunities for the people to earn a decent living.
THEWILL commends the government of Edo State and other organisations for their efforts and collaboration in assisting deported residents of the state and discourage others from illegal migration.
It is an embarrassment that a country as Nigeria, which most African countries run to for cover has become a laughing stock among the comity of nations. This odium has reached an abominable level where the mere mention of being a Nigerian ignites suspicion in the international community. It is even more ridiculous that Nigerians are sold into slavery in some of these countries, particularly Libya. What a shame!
A country that cannot provide for its citizens at home surely cannot guarantee that they will be treated with the best courtesies and respect abroad.
This is a clarion call to our leaders to fix Nigeria and do it real fast.