By Lawani Mikairu
The Executive Director, Global Initiative Against Illegal Migration, GIAIM, Barrister Obinyan Emmanuel has said that government alone cannot stop illegal migration and trafficking of persons. He , therefore, called on Non-governmental organizations, NGOs, engaged in the fight against human trafficking to stop always looking up to government for assistance to carry out the fight.
The GIAIM Executive Director made the call during this year’s edition of the annual GIAIM symposium on illegal migration and human trafficking which held in Lagos on Thursday.
This year’s edition with the theme , Recommendations to Curb Irregular Migration in Nigeria, had in attendance the out going Migration Officer, Embassy of Switzerland, Abuja, Mr Manuel Muhlebach.
Muhlebach who was honoured at the event by GIAIM for his contribution and assistance in the fight against illegal migration and human trafficking formally introduced his successor, Mr Cristian Brugger who will continue the Switzerland Embassy partnership with GIAIM.
Speaking about recommendations to curb illegal migration and human trafficking at the event, Barrister Obinyan Emmanuel said there should be more synagy and collaboration among NGOs involved in the fight against human trafficking.
” The government is overstretched. She cannot respond to every need of the NGOs involved in this fight against human trafficking and illegal migration. We the NGOs have to make that sacrifice. It is a fight driven by passion. A lot of financial and time sacrifice is involved. It is a humanitarian job.”
” I therefore call on federal and states governments agencies responsible for the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration to be more responsive.
Sometimes it takes more than two to three weeks to get a simple acknowledgment of letters sent to these government agencies for collaboration, he said.”
” I had to search out the phone number of the head of a government agency in Lagos State to get audience when my letter sent to the agency for collaboration was not properly responded to. I was told it takes up to a month to get an appointment with the head of the agency because he has a busy schedule. But this fight against human trafficking does not have that kind of luxury of time.”.
Other keynote speakers at the symposium include the Zonal Commander, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Person, NAPTIP, who spoke on the topic : Are we winning the war against Human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria.
The outgoing Migration Officer, Embassy of Switzerland, Abuja, Manuel Muhlebach spoke on the topic: The European refugee crisis of Russian, Ukraine War, effect and set-back on our fight against irregular migration and human trafficking in West Africa”.
Other notable speakers at the event include the Director, Human Development Initiative, HDI, Bolanle Dare. The Acting head, Public Law, Institute of Advance Legal Studies, NAILS, Dr Irekpitan Okukpon was also billed to deliver a paper at the symposium.