Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Imaan Sulaiman Ibrahim, has expressed sadness over the incessant mishaps, involving hundreds of irregular migrants on the Mediterranean Sea enroute Europe.
She described it as ‘ a huge loss that could be avoided.’
She called stakeholders across the World and specifically in African to join hands with the Agency in its renewed efforts to scale up sensitization and awareness campaign as a way of remedying the situation.
She made the call in Abuja while reacting to the recent human casualties recorded as a ship carrying hundreds of migrants capsized off the Libyan coast.
Head of NAPTIP’s Press and Public Relations Unit, Stella Nezan, stated this Wednesday, in a statement.
According to the statement, huge causalities are being recorded yearly on the Mediterranean Sea as thousands of irregular migrants continue to cross the Sea in a bid to migrate to Europe.
‘The latest of such was the incident recorded few days ago in which no fewer than 100 migrants feared dead as boat were carrying some 130 migrants capsized off the coast.’
According to the International Organization for Migration (IOM) no fewer than 350 migrants have died while crossing the Mediterranean migrating route since the beginning of the year thereby raising serious concern on the safety of the migrants.
Reacting to the sad development, the NAPTIP DG, said ‘effort must be made urgently to arrest the situation and halt the constant carnage on this East African migrating route in order to save lives.’
‘I am deeply sad by this avoidable situation that has continued to bring about huge loss of lives and involving a target population of the African continent. While our heart goes for the families of the affected migrants, I wish to call for a regional effort to halt this incessant casualty.’
‘While migration remains the right of every persons, caution must be taken to avoid a loss of lives as we have continued to witness on this aforementioned route. Our concern is borne out of the fact that this unhealthy situation could be avoided or best still minimized to the barest minimum if those affected make the choice of traveling right.’
‘In as much we are mot justifying the occasional loss of lives on this troubled migrating route, it is our belief that this development could be discouraged.’
“As such, in our renewed efforts to and vision aimed at ensuring adequate protection of Nigerian from trafficking, we have improved relationship and synergy with partners and cross section of the society.
‘As a foremost counter trafficking agency established by the Federal Government of Nigeria, in addition to our various sustained strategic awareness raising campaigns that are ongoing across the Country, we have recently launched the “Blue Bus” campaign movement scaling up the enlightenment and advocacy to discouraged human trafficking and irregular migration. This project is supported by the Swiss Government and implemented by IOM.
‘The one stop branding awareness programme involved huge number of stakeholders, development partners, sister law enforcement agencies and an array of civil society actors taking the potent message of anti – human trafficking and irregular migration to the unreached areas and regions of Nigeria.’
‘Reports on suspected incidents of human trafficking, child abuse and other related crimes are been made aboard the mobile campaign platforms of the Blue Bus as well as counselling of victims and vulnerable people.’
She called on ‘stakeholders across Africa to join hands with the NAPTIP in its renewed sensitization campaign drive to bring the painful situation to an end. We must not allow this constant loss of human lives to continue. Let us rise up and re-appraise our regional collaboration with a view to smoothen the rough edges and evolve new strategy if the need arises.’
‘The victims are said to be mainly a target economically viable class of the population and children who must be protected. Enough is enough of this carnage on the Mediterranean migrating route and we all must rise up and stop it,’ Ibrahim stressed.
The NAPTIP boss is generally hailed for injecting ‘new zeal into the activities of the agency since her assumption of office late last year with greater priority on prevention, partnership, prosecution as well as policy development to counter human trafficking in the country.’