Sen. Shehu Sani, Vice-Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, has called on the African Union(AU) to make death due to migration of persons priority on its agenda.
Sani spoke when he visited the Acting Director-General, National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri, in Abuja on Tuesday.
”The one of interest to us here is that of our young men and women dying in the Mediterranean in search of an elusive greener pasture.
”It is very painful to see young men and women, including children, everyday, in the Mediterranean being rescued by aid agencies and sometimes European border guards.
”This should spark our consciences
”And unfortunately up till this very time, those deaths recorded in the Mediterranean are yet to be part of the agenda of the African Union and that is a very big problem, “Sani said.
He said the essence of the visit was to introduce an initiative by the parliament to NAPTIP which would address the issue of irregular migration.
He said the initiative was ”Pan- African Initiative Against Irregular Migration”.
Sani said that the issue of young Nigerians being deceived and promised greener pastures outside the shores of the country should be a concern to all stakeholders.
”They are promised haven but most of them end up as sex slaves, labourers, terrorists or even drug peddlers, this is of concern to us and should be same for all.
”This initiative is to spotlight that sensitive issue that skips the minds of government and we have to make this a major agenda for government and parliament.
”The exploitation of our people dents our image as a country and this initiative has decided to reach out to all stakeholders,’’ he said.
Sani said that in spite of all that NAPTIP was doing on the issue, more needed to be done, adding that it was the responsibility of stakeholders to provide support to NAPTIP.
He said the initiative was aimed at restoring dignity and saving lives and that the collaboration of NAPTIP was essential to make it to succeed.
He further said that his office would be part of the monitoring of NAPTIP budget to ensure it was well funded to carry out its duties.
Responding, Dangiri said the agency had been doing its best in the rescue and rehabilitation of victims of illegal migration.
He, however, said the limitation had been funding as money was required to train, counsel and rehabilitate the rescued victims.
He said the agency had about nine shelters in the country and what it received was not enough to cater to all the people in the shelters.
So far, the agency has empowered about 30,000 victims of illegal migration, he said. (NAN)