The trade in human beings was abolished long time ago in the world. Because of this to sell human beings in whatever form is frowned upon by the United Nations and all well-meaning people of the world. It is therefore surprising to note that some evil minded Nigerians are still carrying out the trade in human.beings. Indeed this should be condemned in its entirety. In the meantime, the Nigerian Immigration Service in Akwa Ibom State has arrested two women for child trafficking. The alleged child traffickers – Grace Nyong and Victoria Effiong hailed from Okobo Local Government Area of the state.
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and Other related Offences said the suspects were arrested with four teenage girls at Oron Motor Park, Uyo, the state capital. The victims, according to the National Agency are Effiong Etim Esu, Blessing Effiong Anter Blessing Effiong Ebimo and Martha Blessing Okpo. The victims were lured into the trip with promises of good life. The arrest was made on Saturday April 17r 2010.
As already noted, the sale of human beings was abolished in the world many centuries ago. Why are some Nigerians taking pleasure in the sale of fellow Nigerians? What benefit are they deriving from the traffick in human beings? We appeal to the Nigerian Immigration Service to be more proactive and get to the root of all those involved in this criminal act and get them punished according to the law of the land. No human being should be allowed to sell a fellow human being for whatever reason. The law must surely take its course in this regard.
Not long ago, the Police Command in Kaduna State smashed a child trafficking syndicate following the interception of a vehicle conveying 105 children. The police said the children were in a lorry that was bound for Niger. They stated that the vehicle was intercepted by a detachment of policemen who were patrolling Kaduna – Abuja expressway. According to the police, the children were packed in two layers in the lorry. The children were between the ages of four and fourteen and were in bad condition at the time of their rescue.
The driver of the vehicle Malam Isa Usman told the police that he was in transit from Agalawa-Banda-kiri local government area of Kano State to Suleja. The children were later handed over to officials of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other Related Offences for custody while the men involved were prosecuted under the enabling law. Four men Ishaku Ali, Haruna Halilu, Muhammed Inuwa and Mustapha Salihu were arrested in connection with the incident.
Similarly, a couple were arrested in Oyo State while selling their two children for five thousand British pounds. The names of the couple were given as Mr and Mrs Woniye. The children were aged between three and five. Earlier, the police in Nigeria discovered sixty-four children packed like sardines in a refrigerated truck in Lagos. It was revealed that the children were been conveyed by a driver and a lady identified as Alhaja Fatima from Mokwa in Niger State to unknown destination in Lagos to be sold into slavery.
Fortunately for the children, whose ages ranged from four to sixteen they were intercepted by some policemen on duty at Amukoko. The policemen insisted on checking the truck conveying the children. Instead of allowing the policemen to check, the driver offered them five thousand naira bribe which they refused to accept. The children were later taken into police custody while those in the illegal trade were investigated. This goes to show how cheap human beings are considered in Nigeria.
It will be recalled that many men fought against slavery in the world and achieved success. For instance, William Wilberforce (1759-1833) fought and won the battle against slavery. For three hundred years slave traders kidnapped black people of Africa and took them for sale as slaves in such distant places as West Indies and America. Later, William Wilberforce discovered that more than 100,000 slaves were shipped across the Atlantic Ocean every year in British ships.
In 1792, Wilberforce made great efforts against this illegal and criminal trade. He persuaded the British parliament to pass a law against slave trade. But the parliament refused. This did not stop Wilberforce from fighting against slave trade until parliament, at last, passed the slave trade Act in 1807. This law made it unlawful for any British person to take part in the slave trade. Later in 1833, another law was passed by parliament through the effort of Wilberforce banning slave trade in all the lands ruled by Britain. Incidently, William Wilberforce died in 1833 shortly before the law was passed. We honour him for winning this victory for humanity. Other people who fought against slavery included John Brown (1800 -1859) of the United States of America and President Abraham Lincoln (1809-1865) of the United States of America. The latter abolished slave trade in the United States of America.
However, in spite of these efforts by these great men, some Nigerians have resumed the illegal trade. We condemn this gross inhumanity to man. We once again appeal to the Anti-Human Trafficking Unit of the Immigration Service in Nigeria to track down all those involved in this inhuman and illegal trade. No human being should be sold into slavery.
Dr. Tolofari, Fellow, Institute of Corporate Administration of Nigeria