Delta State government has cautioned parents against pushing their children and wards to seek greener pasture in abroad saying such move were fuelling the problems of human trafficking.
Chairman, Delta State Task Force on Human Trafficking And Illegal Migration and Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Hon. Peter Mrakpor stated this in Asaba Thursday, August 8, during a rally put in place to commemorate World Day Against Human Trafficking.
He expressed worries that some parents encourage their children to trravel abroad just to compete with fellow parents whose children are abroad wondering why some youths are not taking advantage of the various programmes put in place by Governor Okowa to engage the youths in self reliance.
Mrakpor, who admitted that the issue of human trafficking is a big problem, added that the task force would be taken to all nooks and crannies of the state to flush out all those involved in the crime.
In her own remarks at the occasion, the Commissioner for Women Affairs and Social Development, Mrs Flora Alatan remarked that resources are numeric in Delta state and Nigeria at large and as such the youths have no reason to subject themselves to the pain they go through in the name of travelling abroad.
On his part, the Acting Permanent Secretary, Directorate of Orientation, Mrs Stella Maculay frowned at the reduction of value for human lives among Nigerians pointing out that most times, greed was responsible for fuelling the victims to traffickers because the money they spend trying to travel abroad was enough to start good business.
Some returnees from Libya however, narrated their harrowing and excruciating experiences while they were in Libya.
Mr. Sunday Emmanuel, a Libya travel returnee narrated this gory tale: “Many of us were sold in Libya to buyers who flogged and tortured us. I was in prison for seven months in and stayed in nine prisons in all because we were moved from prison to prison. About 150 of us were sold as slaves; daily one person would die. A woman that died was roasted. There was a colleague from Agbor who ran mad and he eventually died because of torture. It was our fellow Nigerians who were being used to subject us to daily floggings and other forms of torture”
Mr. Godspower Nkwo, leader of Libya returnees in Agbor said: “I thank God for the Federal Government that made it possible for us to return from Libya. We were taken and moved from prison to prison. We were given food once a day, and made to drink water from the toilet.”
Obiazi Hilary, a Libya returnee said: “I sold the only land that my father had to travel. My burga and pusher failed to ‘push’ me beyond Libya into Europe as our engine developed problems on the high sea and there was nowhere to go. I fasted and prayed for two months. And when our boat was stuck on the high sea, many persons died in the process. But suddenly, a strong wave came on the sea and moved our boat back to Libya that was how we survived and were moved back to prison. I lost my best friend who could not survive the sufferings and harsh treatments were we subjected to. I celebrated the 2018 New Year in prison in Libya.”
Another victim of human trafficking, who pleaded to speak on grounds of anonymity, had this to say: “I was the one that was working in the bank who left after being spoken by somebody about traveling out. In Libya, the people love their goats more than the human being. We were made to feed the goats with good food but we were given bread as hard as the stone as food to eat. And the war being fought in Libya was the war between states, and we were given guns even without training on how to fire the guns, and made to fight their enemies. And they knew we had no choice but to do their bidding, otherwise you will be killed. Many people died in our prison and were made to live with the dead, rotting and stinking corpses in the cell. We suffered.”
Yet another returnee in his testimony of experience in Libya said: “We are not used to eating food. We eat once a day, and it is a tea spoon of rice that we are given once a day. They sell and kill people to use the parts of their body to sell for money. A pregnant woman was sold and killed.”
Worried by the evil perpetrated by the merchants of human trafficking and illegal migration, the Delta State Government stepped up effort to deal with the syndrome and rescue unwary Deltans from the agents of this despicable trade and, in collaboration with its Edo state zonal counterpart of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), caught in its dragnet some of the persons doing the illicit trade in the state.
This disclosure was made by the Chairman of the Delta State Task Force on Human Trafficking and Illegal migration, Mr. Pater Mrakpor Esq., in a press conference preceding the sensitization road walk, on Wednesday, August 07, 2019, to call attention and warn Deltans from becoming victims of human trafficking and illegal migration.
According to Mrakpor, the NAPTIP arrests were part of the measures taken by the state government to clamp down on the forces behind the atrocious trade.
Mrakpor further noted that it was worrisome and disturbing that fellow Nigerians would engage in persuading unwary parents to send their children abroad on the pretext of giving opportunity to better their lives abroad but with the ulterior motives of converting them to slaves on arrival in the unknown land.
While urging Deltans to beware of the presence in their midst, of these traffickers, who are already creeping into Delta State trying to lure boys and girls away to ruin their destinies, Mrakpor called for vigilance on the part of all, adding that any person noticed trying to lure people into such evil trade should be reported immediately to security authorities and the attention of the Task Force called to it. He also confirmed that there were eight local government areas so far identified as potential problems areas of human trafficking and illegal migration.
Lamenting that parents raise as much as N1.5million to get their children to go on such a mission, the Task Force Chairman and Delta State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, alerted that: “If people understand that terrible and sordid things are done to those being trafficked abroad under this guise, they will not be deceived. If you can raise N1.5million to go abroad, why save to commit suicide. It is like saving to buy Gamalin 20 to drink. Such amount of money could help a person raise a big business that can catapult one to limelight in Nigeria” he advised.
“There is nothing you need in Nigeria that you cannot get. But the mentality that life is better abroad than in Nigeria, is a wrong one. The statistics we are having shows that these persons have penetrated Delta state and they are convincing young boys and girls and even parents to travel abroad
“A lot of persons have been taken abroad on the pretext of going to school or looking for greener pasture, at the end of the day, they end up becoming slaves.
“So, this is a call for everyone to report anybody trying to convince anyone in such manner to the nearest police station or any government official.
“Anybody seen persuading people to travel abroad without any genuine reason should be reported to the nearest police station.
“We want to appeal to parents to know that the man or woman who is approaching you, your son or your daughter that there is a better life in the United Kingdom or United States or Malaysia, the person is deceiving you.
“It is unfortunate parents do not do proper investigation and know the background of people who come to ask for their children to be taken abroad. The taskforce set up by the state government will ensure this evil is brought to a stop,” Barrister Mrakpor said.