As Nigeria joins the rest of the world to observe the International Day of Remembrance of Victims of Slavery and the Transatlantic Slave Trade (IDRSVTST), the Executive Secretary of the National Human Rights Commission, Tony Ojukwu, has said that though slave trade might have been abolished, there are other related forms of modern-day slavery that inhibit the enjoyment of human rights and fundamental freedoms in Nigeria.
Ojukwu who made this known in a press statement signed by the Deputy Director Public Affairs, National Human Rights Commission, (NHRC) Fatimah Agwai Mohammed, yesterday in Abuja also cautioned the perpetrators of the dastardly act of all forms of slavery to desist from the uncivilized practice.
He said human trafficking; (an act of recruitment and transportation of persons (both male and female) within or across borders of this country) is the fastest-growing form of slavery in Nigeria today, adding that the effects have continued to disorientate our social and mental well- being as a nation.
“Apart from human trafficking in all its ramifications, we are also confronted with, ethnicity in this modern times”. He further said, “these are discriminations based on the perception that a certain group of people are different and superior to others and this results in a kind of treatment or attitude that makes the disadvantaged group feel inferior or persecuted just like persons who were captured and sold as slaves between the 16th and 17th century”. These persistent inequalities in the enjoyment of basic human rights are not only wrong but are a major cause of social upheaval and conflict in our society”, he said.
While speaking to this year’s theme “Ending Slavery legacy of Racism: A global imperative to Justice,” which aims to raise awareness on the dangers of racism, Ojukwu emphasized that racist behavior which often translates to discrimination has obvious negative consequences, from simple neglect, or the avoidance of those believed to be different and inferior, to more explicit forms of harassment, mistreatment exploitation, or exclusion to more extreme cases of threat to life and death.
While calling on all Nigerians to join the fight against these forms of slavery, the human rights Czar whose Commission has been working tirelessly to advance the course of women’s rights in Nigeria observed that although men are also victims of slavery, children and women have been the most at-risk populations.