Ogun State Governor, Prince Dapo Abiodun has inaugurated a Task force on human trafficking as part of efforts to nip human trafficking in the bud, just as he also called on government at all levels and stakeholders to expedite actions to curb its growing records.
Speaking during the inauguration held in collaboration with the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and International Organisation for Migration (IOM), at Obas Complex, Oke-Mosan, Abeokuta, Abiodun said the effort was part of the State government’s approach at delivering good governance to the people.
Represented by his Deputy, Engr. Noimot Salako-Oyedele, the Governor noted that no development could take place in an atmosphere of insecurity where criminal acts, such as child abuse and human trafficking were rampant, saying that human trafficking was a grave violation of human rights.
’’For us in Ogun state, measures are already in place to stem child abuse, human trafficking and other acts of violence against humanity. In this aspect, while we have continued to deploy resources to ensure securities of lives and property, it is also a matter of policy to provide conducive environment for our people. Our administration has put in place various social intervention programmes, designed towards increasing individual prosperity and improving the economy of our dear State’’, he said.
According to the Governor, the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act (VAPP) Law in the State was aimed at eradicating all forms of violence, including human trafficking, adding that the government had enacted the child right law to protect children.
He said the taskforce would be responsible for developing strategies and state action plans on counter trafficking issues, work with the State Ministry of Justice on how to provide access to justice, assist and provide access to justice for victims of trafficking, develop mechanism relating to the collection, management and sharing of data amongst others.
Earlier in her address, the Director General, NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, said the problem of human trafficking and irregular migration had become a national concern, particularly with the large number of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in various African and European countries.
Okah-Donli noted that human trafficking must be addressed boldly and frontally, saying that the challenges ahead were quite enormous and new initiatives should be developed, at ensuring adequate resources for the rehabilitation of returnee victims and irregular migration, in order to mitigate the phenomenon of re-trafficking.
“The State taskforce on human trafficking have a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitisation at the grass root as well as to support the victims who have been rescued and retired home”, she said.
Also speaking, IOM, Chief Mission, Franz Celestin, represented by Mrs. Bertha Nvugulu, said human trafficking was a serious human right violation, which drives for the exploit of human beings for profit, saying the only way to curb it was to put in place more strategies.
In his remarks, the Attorney-General and State Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran, said VAPP Law had been put in place in which related crimes were categorised under it, assuring that his Ministry, would also work with other relevant agencies in the State.
“Ogun State is central and that is why it is easy for people interested in trafficking to utilise the State. There is need to adopt a victim centred approach aimed at protecting individuals who are trafficked and suffering from violence perpetrators, as well as utilise the testimonies given by victims to build a case against the heads of the criminal agencies responsible for those actions”, he said.
In her address, State Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Funmi Efuwape appreciated the Governor and other partners for their prompt response and total support for matters affecting women and children in the State.
“I have no fear when it comes to matters affecting women and children of the State, knowing fully well the type of state Governor we have. He would respond promptly to our requests as he has been doing before now”, Efuwape said.
The 42-member Committee had the State Commissioner for Justice, Mr. Akingbolahan Adeniran as the Chairman, co-chaired by Director RPD NAPTIP, Mr. Daniel Atokolo, other members of the taskforce included Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs. Funmi Efuwape, Special Adviser to the Governor, Hon. Adijat Adeleye, among others.
Taylor Temitayo, Opeyemi Oladele & Kemi Peters
Press Officers, Office of the Deputy Governor, Ministries of Justice and Women Affairs & Social Development