The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs. Julie Okah-Donli, weekend disclosed that the use of juju (black magic) hinders successful prosecution and conviction of human traffickers.
Okah-Donli who spoke at a public lecture in commemoration of the 60th birthday celebration of Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, held at the University of Benin, disclosed that obtaining victims’ testimonies for prosecution and conviction of offenders is becoming very difficult.
Her lecture was titled; “Youth Migration, Deportation and Rehabilitation: The Way Forward.”
She blamed government at all levels for not doing enough to stem the ugly trend of human trafficking, even as she criticized the media for not giving enough publicity to the dangers associated with it.
“Prosecution of human traffickers is usually difficulty. Their conviction is based on victim’s testimony which is hard to obtain because of the control mechanism adopted by traffickers, the most popular which is the use of juju by traffickers to control the victims.
“Human trafficking is usually under reported and given very lower priority by government at all levels,” she said.
The NAPTIP boss however announced that the agency has achieved a milestone by convicting 339 persons, with many other cases still pending in courts.
The Dean of Students, University of Benin, Prof. Osarhieme Benson Osadolor, who also spoke at the event on the topic: “Stemming the Tide of Youth Migration: a Viable Alternative,” said the consideration of a viable alternative in stemming the tide of youth migration must begin with the policy context of government intervention.
Osadolor said the starting point is the assessment of the implementation of the second National Youth Policy Document of the Federal Republic of Nigeria 2009 adding that the document acknowledged that the youth are the greatest assets that any nation can have; not only are they legitimately regarded as the future leaders but also potentially the greatest investment for a country’s development.
He said it is regrettable that since 2009 till date, the situation has not changed thus resulting to the current realities of youth migration with an embarrassing upsurge in human trafficking and illegal migration.
On his part, Captain Idahosa Wells Okunbo, blamed the drive for illegal migration on a strong desire to make quick wealth, adding that if he were of this generation, he would have also been among those who traveled to Libya because he was very ambitious as a youth then.
According to him: “I was quite ambitious when I was young. What made me cried in my hotel room was because if it were today, I would have been in Libya if I had belonged to this generation because I was quite ambitious.”
According to him, having known of the danger involved in human trafficking, he has taken it upon himself to be among those calling for its end.
“Today, I am an ambassador against human trafficking. It is evil, it is not what our children should go through,” he said.