Why Lawmakers Are Losing Sleep Over Migration, Human Trafficking
The Senate President and some other government delegations are in Benin City, the capital of Edo State, for talks on Migration and Human Trafficking which has become a thing of concern for the Nigerian government since reports of slave trade in Libya were made public few months ago.
It is a summit intended to draw attention to the situation and to give confidence to Nigerians while also exploring possible solutions to the crisis that has seen large number of Nigerians die while trying to make it to Europe.
In a speech before talks began, the Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki, told the gathering that the members of the National Assembly were losing sleep over irregular migration and human trafficking.
"We are determined, as representatives of the people, to do something about it," he said.
The figures read out by the Senate President were not looking good at all and they were enough to deprive anyone sleep.
At least 10,000 Nigerians are estimated to have lost their lives on the perilous journey in five months of last year alone.
"We have seen the bleak images of coffins of 26 Nigerian girls who were laid to rest in Italy last November.
"And while media attention is often focused on those rescued at sea or washed up along Europe’s shores, United Nations’ estimates suggest that more migrants die crossing the Sahara than the Mediterranean.
"This is human tragedy on a colossal scale, and to reel off the statistics is to recite a litany to doomed youth.
"Of asylum applications rejected by European countries since 2011, Nigerians accounted for nearly 100,000 – almost three times the number of any other African country," the Senate President told the gathering that had representatives of Ministries, Departments and Agencies (MDAs), international partners and other dignitaries in attendance.
He expressed hopes that the summit would help to identify how legislation – which is the primary function of the National Assembly – and policy – a joint responsibility – could be used in addressing the problem.
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He lamented that many Nigerians have wasted funds that could have been ploughed into profitable enterprise, in the quest for an ever-shifting horizon and highlighted that talks at the summit were expected to "identify root causes and the various dimensions of the problem.