By Ikhili Ebalu, Benin city
A United Nations (UN) advocate and Edo State government have vowed to pursue diligent investigation aimed at convicting more Human traffickers in Nigeria with a view to minimizing supply of trafficking.
This decision was reached when the State governor Godwin Obaseki played host to Maria Grazia Giammarinaro, the Special Rapporteur on trafficking in persons, office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Geneva in Switzerland, at the Weekend in Benin City.
Their fact-finding mission was to explore areas of mutual collaboration and ‘measure the level of progress of the Committee’ since it was set up by the State Government on September 15, 2017.
In a remark, Maria Grazia Giammarinaro who spoke on behalf of the group, lauded Edo State government for initiating a social safety programmes for survivors of illegal migration and victims of human trafficking including those compelled into servitude by their traffickers.
As a matter of basic moral duty, Giammarinaro, urged State government to invest in education and create jobs as well as increase awareness against illegal migration and human trafficking which she alleged brought “many sorrows” to homes in the State.
According to her, “Our effort is to assist the State government in area of advocacy which is significant in international cooperation in areas of investigation and prosecution especially in protection and promotion of rights of victims of human trafficking, survivors of illegal migration and other vulnerable persons”.
The State Commissioner for Justice, Prof. Yinka Omorogbe, highlighted the objectives, achievements and prospects of the Committee in the past one year.
She said the Committee was currently handling 34 cases of Human trafficking, adding that investigation, prosecution, intensive advocacy were critical areas of mutual cooperation to winning the fight illegal migration and human trafficking.
Prof. Omorogbe who is also the State Chairman, Task Force Against Human Trafficking and Illegal Migration Committee, hinted that a detailed study that would help determine the physical and psychological causes of the abominable act, has begun.
In his message, the State governor, Godwin Obaseki, represented on the occasion by his Chief of Staff, Mr. Taiwo Akerele, said his government has open up the space for civic engagement by eliminating harmful traditional practices that formerly inhibited women from attaining their potentials.
Also speaking, the Senior Special Assistant to Governor Godwin Obaseki on Anti Human Trafficking Issues, Comrade Solomon Okoduwa, said the current upsurge in human trafficking by the first deported immigrants was as a result of the previous governments neglect.
According to him, ” if the previous governments has paid attention to them as being done by the present administration of Godwin Obaseki, things wouldn’t have be like this. ” he stated.