The Nigerian Immigration Service, NIS, on Saturday, lamented the high rate of human trafficking in Oyo State, saying Oyo has overtaken Edo State which was hot spot for human trafficking before now.
Assistant Comptroller, Anti-Human Trafficking and Child Labour Unit of the Nigerian Immigration Service, Foluso Akintola, who spoke at a book reading, written by Mr. Olusegun Adeniyi, the Chairman Editorial Board of the Thisday Newspaper, entitled: ‘From frying pan to Fire’ held at the Booksellers Limited, Ibadan, said Nigeria was the only country that serves as source, transit and destination for trafficking.
Akintola, who said 464 victims were rescued in the state between January 2016 and May 2019, noted that the social vice is becoming rampant in Oyo State because there was no attention on human trafficking in the state, unlike Edo State where government and traditional rulers were paying attention to the menace.
He said: “The Immigration service in Oyo State has rescued several children of ages between 6 and 10 years. These are gross minors while many minors of less than 18 years old have equally been rescued in lbadan and its environs.
“These are mostly used as house-helps, shop attendants and vendors/hawkers.
“In 2016, we rescued 134 victims and arrested 38 traffickers, 107 end-users with 11 victims, 4 traffickers processed to NAPTIP.
“In 2017, 139 victims were rescued, 1 trafficker and 1 end-user were arrested and processed to NAPTIP.
“In 2018, 163 victims, 27 traffickers arrested while 1 victim and 1 trafficker were processed to NAPTIP.
“In the first quarter of this year 2019 between January and May, 28 victims have been rescued, 8 traffickers with 12 end-users arrested.
“Occurrences of these businesses are more prominent in Oyo, Edo and Delta states of Nigeria. “They are now a major national problem for Nigeria.
The fear in Nigeria of sudden disappearance of children and adults to migration and human trafficking is real and palpable. “The problems posed by these issues have far-reaching effects on Nigerian’s image to the outside world. Recent media reports tend to portray Nigeria as a major hub for illicit movements of persons.
“Italy used to be the destination of most trafficked victims from Nigeria but with high mortality rate on the desert and the Meditaranian Sea in Lampadusa, the traffickers tend to have changed destination to the Arab world,” he said.
By Jeremiah Oke