Nigerian children not for sale, Osinbajo warns traffickers

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The wife of the Vice-President, Mrs Dolapo Osinbajo, has warned human traffickers in the country to desist from such illicit trade, noting that Nigerian children are not for sale.

Osinbajo called on the private sector to collaborate with the Federal Government in curbing the menace of human trafficking.

The wife of the Vice-President said this on Thursday in Abuja while opening a re-modelled shelter of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other related matters, as part of the activities lined up for the 2019 World Day Against Human Trafficking.

Osinbajo said, “Our children are not for sale; they are precious and special to us. The sensitisation must go down to the grassroots in all our local languages so that people can easily understand the message and become less vulnerable.

“Sheltering is a key component in the fight against human trafficking. It provides stability and helps to ensure adequate reception for survivors.”

The NAPTIP Director General, Julie Okah-Donli, who said Nigeria was a signatory to the Human Trafficking Protocol, noted that there was a need to ensure that survivors of the crime were accorded a special place in the programme of activities.

She said, “The crime of human trafficking has become a global concern as it has recently been rated as the third largest illicit trade after arms and drugs’ smuggling. Therefore, the international community has realised the need to tame the ugly trend with a concerted approach.”

Meanwhile, NAPTIP has said one of the drawbacks of the Almajiri system is that it exposes children to human traffickers for recruitment.

The agency said the Almajiri system was one of the cultural and traditional practices fuelling human trafficking. It noted that there were about seven million Almajiris going by statistics from the National Council for the Welfare of the Destitute.

The NAPTIP stated this in its Nigeria Country Report on Human Trafficking 2019, obtained by our correspondent.

The anti-trafficking agency said, “The Almajiri system of education is practised in the North whereby parents give their children to religious scholars. The Almajiri system has come with its drawbacks because the number of children under the care of a scholar is such that it becomes difficult to cater to and feed them.

“This results in these children begging for alms on the streets and exposing them to human traffickers for recruitment. A report by the National Council for the Welfare of the Destitute approximates the number of current Almajiri to seven million.”

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