By Iduozee Paul, Benin correspondent
The awareness raising officer and head of the Benin Sub-office of the International Organization for Migration (IMO), Cyprine Cheptepkeny and WintanaTarekgn have disclosed that between April 2017 and October 2019, IOM in collaboration with the federal government under the EU-IOM joint initiative, has assisted 18,079 migrants to return to Nigeria and almost half of the returnees are from Edo State.
The duo who made the disclosure at a media launch for WAKA well in Oredo and Ikpoba Okha organized by IOM-UN in Benin City, said the campaign was launched in the two local government areas due to the high number of migrants returning to communities there.
“The essence of the campaign is to bridge the knowledge gaps on regular migration options and the available opportunities in Oredo and IkpobaOkha. The fight against human trafficking and irregular migration is not a task for an individual agency but rather a task that involves all of us working together.
“We believe it is through our joint efforts and contribution that we can be able to reduce the incidents of irregular migration and achieve sustainable reintegration of returning migrants.
“In Nigeria, from April 2017 till October 2019, IOM in collaboration with the federal government of Nigeria under the EU-IOM joint initiative has assisted about 18,079 migrants to return to Nigeria from Libya and other transit and destination countries in Europe. Edo State alone accounts for 42 per cent of this number.”
In his address, NAPTIP assistant director, who represented the director , Public Enlightenment, ChidiDonatus, said human trafficking has brought shame and disgrace to the country, and that has damaged Nigeria’s image.
Donatus said human trafficking is a serious human rights violation that brings high profits to traffickers through the acquisition and exploitation of human beings by improper means, such as force, fraud or deception.
He stated: ” Illegal migration on the other hand, involves the facilitation of illegal entry of a person into a state of which that person is not a national or resident for financial or material benefits. ”
He said both illegal acts pose global concerns.
“Human trafficking and illegal migration represent great global challenges. They are obstacles to development, to the rule of law, and a serious threat to human security as both crimes affect directly, the lives of human beings.
“There are different patterns of trafficking and illegal migration. This changes continuously as the traffickers and smugglers exploit the factors that make countries and persons vulnerable to these crimes. ”
In her goodwill speech, the state director, National Orientation Agency, NOA, Edo State, Eseka Grace Ewere, ûged youths to pay attention to the message and also pass the information to those not at the event.
She said the agency is ready to support the programme to discourage human trafficking in Edo State and Nigeria in general.