By Henry Umoru
ABUJA—SENATE President, Bukola Saraki has described human trafficking and illegal migration by some Nigerians as threat to national security that required urgent response.
He said that in view of the bad image being created for the country and the overall security implications posed by illegal migrants and victims of trafficking, the Senate would support the Federal Government and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, to work out a cohesive and comprehensive national response to the twin evil.
Saraki, who spoke when NAPTIP’s Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, led senior members of the agency’s management team on a courtesy visit to him, said human trafficking and illegal migration activities had reached crisis proportions in the country with severe implications for national security.
He said: “As you know, human trafficking and illegal migration are the EU’s number one issue with Nigeria. The European Union members fear these issues fuel the attraction of many citizens to the divisive messages espoused by ultra nationalist political parties.”
Saraki lamented that thousands of young Nigerians continued to risk their lives unnecessarily as they attempt to transit across the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean Sea on the false promise of a better life in Europe and beyond.
“The crisis has exposed the ruthless human trafficking, smuggling and criminal cartels that profit on the hopes and dreams of these young people. Many of these unscrupulous groups are organized by Nigerians.
Unfortunately, this has caused some in the international community and media to shine negative attention on Nigeria, in this respect, the human trafficking and illegal migration crisis has become a national security issue.