By Kingsley Obiejesi
Some prominent Nigerians including Nollywood actor and legal practitioner, Kenneth Okonkwo, and former English football international, John Fashanu, have pledged to support programmes and activities that would curb the menace of Human Trafficking in Nigeria.
They were among anti-human trafficking ambassadors inaugurated at the National Human Rights Commission, Abuja, during an event organized by Devatop Centre for Africa Development, a Non-Governmental Organisation, NGO, whose major operations are channeled towards reducing the rate of human trafficking in the country.
Other notable Nigerians who also took up the Anti-human trafficking challenge include: Chido Onumah, a renowned journalist and author; Rachel Bakam, a popular media personality, and Esther Ekanem, an anti-sex trafficking advocate.
According to the executive director of Devatop, Joseph Osuigwe, the ambassadors were chosen in order to intensify action against human trafficking, a menace that currently affects millions of Nigerians, especially the female gender.
Speaking at the event, renowned broadcaster, Eugenia Abu, who represented the Director-General of Nigerian Television Authority, NTA, Yakubu Mohammed, urged the ambassadors to take strategic actions against human trafficking.
She noted that the media is a very important ally in the anti-human trafficking campaign, encouraging Devatop Centre as well as the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, to take advantage of the many programmes of NTA to reach the public.
Also, Daniel Atokolo, who represented the acting Director General of NAPTIP, assured that the agency will collaborate with Devatop in tackling human trafficking in Nigeria.
In her remarks, the chairperson of the Board of Devatop Centre for Africa Development, Carol Ndaguba, noted that the reason for the caliber of people chosen as ambassadors is so that they could “use their networks and platforms to intensify actions against human trafficking.”
Represented by the Executive director, Joseph Osuigwe, she said: “We expect them to adopt this laudable cause as their social responsibilities, mobilize and engage other individuals, celebrities, philanthropists, companies, organizations, etc., in combating human trafficking, and to attract support for our anti-human trafficking projects.
“We are planning on executing the second phase of the pilot project on The Academy for Prevention of Human Trafficking and Other Related Matters, TAPHOM, and we are hopeful that individuals, organizations and companies will support this project.”
The newly inaugurated ambassadors, in their individual speeches, promised to totally commit to the course and to do everything within their abilities to promote and draw attention to anti-human trafficking activities.
The inauguration was attended by representatives from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Women Affairs, National Youth Service Corps, National Information Technology Development Agency, National Commission for Refugees, Migrants and Internally Displaced Persons, National Emergency Management Agency, Nigerian Immigration Services, National Human Rights Commission, and the private sector.
Many of the participants, registered to be part of Devatop’s Board of Supporters against Human Trafficking.