*Enugu* By Johnpaul Anih, 23-9-2020
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has applauded Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, for his administration’s giant developmental projects in the state since its assumption of office in 2015.
NAPTIP also commended Gov. Ugwuanyi for the support given to frontline health workers to safeguard the lives of the citizens of Enugu State, to curb the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic”.
The body gave the commendations when the Director General, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, led a delegation to the Government House, Enugu, on Wednesday, for the inauguration of the Enugu State Task Force on Human Trafficking, which was performed by Gov. Ugwuanyi.
Okah-Donli said that “it takes a man with strong vision and purpose to achieve these feats”.
The DG explained that NAPTIP as the focal agency in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria, “is also the implementing agency for the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Act 2015, which Enugu State domesticated on 8th May 2019”.
She disclosed that NAPTIP was collaborating with state governments to set up task forces against human trafficking, under the supervision of the state governors, to be chaired by the State Attorney Generals, in order to consolidate the efforts of the agency and other stakeholders.
The NAPTIP boss pointed out that the problems associated with human trafficking as well as irregular migration have become of great national concern, “especially with the large number of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in various African and European countries”.
Expressing worries that human trafficking portends danger to human and national security, the NAPTIP DG stressed that “it must be addressed boldly and frontally”.
She therefore maintained that the state task forces on human trafficking have a pivotal role to play in ensuring adequate sensitization at the grassroots and among vulnerable groups, “providing services and support to victims who have been rescued and returned, as well as information sharing and law enforcement”.
Inaugurating the Enugu State Task Force, chaired by the State Attorney General and Commissioner for Justice, Chief Miletus Eze, Gov. Ugwuanyi, who described human trafficking as “an open wound on the body of our society, a crime against humanity, and a global phenomenon that exceeds the competence of any community or country”, stated that it requires a mobilization comparable to the size of the phenomenon, in order to be eliminated.
The governor noted that his administration had earlier demonstrated commitment to the elimination of the human trafficking menace, disclosing that Enugu was among the first few states in Nigeria to pass the Child Rights and Responsibility Law of 2015.
Gov. Ugwuanyi appreciated the laudable efforts of NAPTIP and its brilliant move in reconstituting the state working groups into state task forces “to provide a platform to articulate and consolidate state governments’ policies and programmes to counter the terrible scourge of human trafficking”.
He therefore called for enhanced partnership among government institutions, the private sector, academic institutions, the media, civil society and the faith-based organizations, to eradicate trafficking and rehabilitate survivors.
Responding, the Deputy Chief of Staff to the Governor, Prof. Malachy Okwueze, who spoke on behalf of the Chairman of the state task force, thanked Gov. Ugwuanyi for finding them worthy to serve the state in that capacity and promised him that they will discharge their duties diligently, stressing: “We will not disappoint Your Excellency and the people of Enugu State”.
Members of the state task force include Tochukwu, Emmanuel Anyanwuma (State Ministry of Justice); Mr. Chuka Umunna (Federal Ministry of Labour& Employment); Okenwa Uzoamaka Uzoechina (State Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development); CSP Ezenwa Onyekaba (Nigeria Police Force); CIS Nneka Ilojeme (Nigerian Immigration Service); Achi Idris (National Drug and Law Enforcement Agency); Ikpa Chinyere Rose (National Security and Civil Defence Corps), and Uwa Chioma (Federal Road Safety Corps).
Others are HRH Igwe Emmanuel Umunna (Representative of Traditional Institutions); Prof. Fred Eze, (OHANEZE) (Representative of Socio-Cultural Organizations); Ogbuefi Esther (Representative of Youths and Women Group); Ogbonna Ugochukwu (WACOL), Chinelo Dim (WINET), Comrade Elias Agu (CLO), Amara Amusi (DOVES Foundation) and Chinyere Mgbo (NAWOJ).