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THE problem of human trafficking would be over in Nigeria if the government handled it the same way it did the Ebola virus disease in 2014, says Osuigwe Chidiebere, Executive Director of Devatop Centre for African Development, a non-governmental organisation that works to eradicate human trafficking in Nigeria.
Chidiebere made this submission while appearing as a special guest at a panel debate on illegal migration and human trafficking, during the Africa experts’ conference, which held in Berlin, Germany.
The debate, organised by the Germany African Foundation in partnership with Deutsche Welles, Germany’s public international broadcaster, was put together to find a solution to the increasing number of illegal African migrants into Europe, especially Germany.
In his presentation at the event, Chidiebere described human trafficking as one of the biggest problems confronting the Nigerian government.
“Human trafficking and illegal migration are increasing in Nigeria, with the majority of victims being young people,” Chidiebere said.
“The traffickers come in different forms, but most times they come with fake promises of a better life in Europe. Many of them think that European governments are more caring.”
However, citing an example with the Ebola outbreak of 2014, Chidiebere said that the Nigerian government will be able to eradicate human trafficking if the same efforts that resulted in the eradication of Ebola was replicated.
“When Ebola came to Nigeria, it was seen as a national priority, and everyone was committed, even the government, and after one year, Ebola was eradicated. Human trafficking could also be done away with, if there was a similar demonstration of political and public will,” he said.
Chidiebere is the only African out of the three experts that were invited to the debate panel. Others include Reiner Klingholz, Director of the independent Berlin Institute for Population and Development think tank, and Claus Stäcker, Head of Deutsche Welles’ Africa programs.
Speaking to the ICIR on his return from Germany, Chidiebere said Nigeria must enact a social protection policy to ensure that citizens on the lower rung of the social ladder are not neglected.
This policy, he said, should go beyond the current N5000 social investment programme of the Muhammadu Buhari administration. It should include access to quality healthcare, education and jobs.
“Most Nigerians are not traveling out because of greed,” Chidiebere said. “They only want a decent means of livelihood and a better future. If they know they can have these things here, I don’t think they would risk their lives to cross the Mediterranean in search of so-called greener pastures.”