The Rivers State Government has inaugurated the State Task Force on the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons.
Speaking during the inauguration of the Task Force at the Government House in Port Harcourt on Monday, Governor Nyesom Wike who was represented by his deputy, Ipalibo Harry Banigo said his Administration is committed to eradicating human trafficking.
“We have to stop these traffickers, we ought to be able to give justice to those who deserve them and the justice must be prompt and even seem to be done across board and whatever it takes to ensure that there is a prompt prosecution my Government is committed to it. We are also committed to the successful rehabilitation of victims, that is why we are creating a safe home for victims” Governor Wike stressed.
The Governor urged members of the Task Force to interrogate issues around human trafficking, stressing that it is important for us to share information and extend partnership in such a way that we can have effective information gathering.
He said to attain sustainable development Goals one of the issues is the eradication of violence against women and girls, describing the trafficking of women and girls as disastrous.
He commended the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Dame Julie Okah-Donli for her concerted efforts and the zest she has put in to eliminate human trafficking and human degradation in the country.
“I believe a lot of people did not realise how serious the problem of human trafficking was until you came on board, you can see that everybody is awakening up to this horrible crime in the society, this modern-day slavery, it is so pathetic the numbers you have readout, it is really awful and we know that having a State Task Force will help in the sense that it would have inter-sectoral collaboration”.
In her remarks, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Dame Julie- Okah-Donli said the problem of human trafficking and irregular migration has become a great national concern because of the large number of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in various African and European countries.
According to her, hundreds of Nigerians have continued to die in the Sahara Desert and the Mediterranean Sea, stressing that last year reports emerged about human farms in Libya, where black African migrants are allegedly kept in cages like animals and organs like eyes, kidneys and lungs are harvested to service the medical sectors of Europe.
Also, the Chairman of the Rivers State Task Force on the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, Prof. Zaccheaus Adango said the Task Force would support NAPTIP in its quest to eradicate human trafficking