OrderPaperToday – The Senate on Wednesday expressed concern over what it described as “modern slavery” in Nigeria following the discovery of over 300 persons including 77 children in chains at Rigasa, lgabi Local Government Area of Kaduna State on Thursday, 26th September, 2019.

 

The concerns of the Senate were captured in a motion titled “urgent need to address the prevalence of modern slavery in Nigeria.”

 

Sponsor of the motion, Senator Uba Sani (APC, Kaduna) narrated how another set of 147 persons, mostly consisting of children and young adults, were rescued from an “illegal religious rehabilitation centre” in Rigasa on Saturday, 19th  October, 2019, in addition to 11 persons rescued from a similar facility in Zaria, Kaduna State on Tuesday, 22“ October, 2019.

 

Sani highlighted that the detention of children in unlawful rehabilitation centres, the employment of children as domestic workers and procurement of persons for sexual exploitation and forced labour, are some of the examples of modern day slavery in Nigeria.

 

According to him, “Apart from bearing scars inflicted on their bodies and injuries sustained from torture, some of the victims had been sexually abused while 3 people died while in custody.

 

“The National Bureau of Statistical Multiple indicator Cluster Survey reveals that 43% of Nigerian children between the ages 5 and 17 years are engaged in child or forced labour.

 

“According to the Global Slavery Index (GSI) 2018, the population of the people in slavery in Nigeria is 1,384,000 which is more than the total number of all the other 16 West African countries when added together. Statistics collated from GSI shows that 7 out of 1000 Nigerian Citizens live in modern slavery and the vulnerability of Nigerians to Modern Slavery is 74 out of every 100 people.”

 

Speaking further, he explained that the major causes of “modern slavery” in Nigeria are the prevalence of poverty, illiteracy, joblessness and poor living standards. Sani further lamented that the performance of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been hampered by inadequate funding and lack of coordination with other relevant agencies.

 

The Senate in its resolutions called on the “newly established Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) and other relevant federal government agencies to intensify surveillance, embark on awareness creation with special focus on land, sea and air borders as a step towards curbing the prevalence of modern slavery.”

 

The red chamber also urged “NAPTIP to set-up State Task Forces to fight against modem slavery and child trafficking in Kaduna State and replicate this across the whole country”.

 

The Senators also called for increased funding for the agency.

 

Furthermore, the Senate mandated “the Committee on Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), the Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, the Federal Ministry of Health, NAPTIP, Nigeria Police Force (NPF), Nigeria Immigration Service(NlS) to set up a joint Technical Team that will promote inter agency cooperation and deepen synergy for effective intelligence in order to eradicate forced labour, modern slavery, human trafficking and an end to child labour by 2030”.

 

Finally, the Senate directed the Inspector General of Police to ensure that the Nigeria Police Force (NPF) “strictly adheres to the global best practices by discouraging media parade of victims of modern slavery so as to avoid stigmatization and violation of their fundamental human rights.”

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Damilola Zebulun Adeniran
Damilola is a multiple award-winning Writer, Researcher, and Community/Sustainable Development Practitioner. His interests and experience span across media, academics, human capital development, and strategic planning. Damilola is a Paradigm Initiative Digital Rights and Inclusion Media Fellow. He is the first Nigerian in history to win the blog4dev writing contest organised by the World Bank Group. Also, Damilola's writing on violent extremism and sustainable peace in Nigeria won a PeaceWriteNow prize, presented by the Embassy of Ireland in June, 2018. His works have been published in Nigeria and the United States of America, in English and in French. Damilola has also attended important meetings within and outside the African continent including the 2019 Spring Meetings of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund in Washington D.C, USA. He was also a special guest on a panel discussion titled “How creative industry can help to stem fragility,” which was held at the headquarters of the World Bank in Washington, D.C, USA. Furthermore, Damilola was selected as a Champion of Advocacy against extreme poverty and preventable diseases by ONE Campaign in May, 2019. An alumnus of the prestigious Lagos Business School and Federal University of Technology Akure, Damilola Adeniran represents Nigeria in the Youth Transforming Africa Program.

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