Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu state yesterday declared that henceforth, baby factories and those behind the ignoble, illicit business would not be tolerated in the state.
The governor spoke on an occasion when the director-general of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons(NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, commended him for his convincing resolve to support the agency’s fight against the evil of trafficking in persons.
The NAPTIP boss also praised Governor Ugwuanyi for his “dogged effort in getting the Child’s Rights Law operational in the state within this short period. It makes you a child-friendly governor”.
Addressing the NAPTIP boss and members of her entourage during a courtesy call on him at the Government House, Enugu, Governor Ugwuanyi lamented that “human trafficking – a form of modern slavery- has over time grown into a multi-billion dollar criminal industry which according to a recent estimate by the International Labour Organization (ILO), is responsible for the enslavement of over 21 million people around the world”.
He vowed that under the watch of his administration, baby factories and the activities of those behind the illicit trade can no longer be allowed to thrive, assuring the agency of all necessary support it can afford.
He said, “in this wise, I want to assure you of the continued assistance, support and partnership of the Enugu State Government towards the successful and satisfactory discharge of this responsibility especially within the confines of the State.
“Quite unfortunately, tales of trade in humans especially for the purpose of forced labour, sexual slavery or commercial sex exploitation within and outside the country, have become common in Nigeria.
“Indeed, the sheer magnitude and widespread nature of this cankerworm poses an enormous and daunting challenge for agencies like NAPTIP that were created and saddled with the responsibility of eliminating or bringing it under control.
“I do believe, however, that the task of curtailing human trafficking in Nigeria is one that NAPTIP cannot be left to shoulder alone. Rather, it calls for the sustained cooperation and commitment of all Nigerians as well as relevant government and non government agencies –especially in the area of capacity building and intelligence sharing”, said the governor.
The NAPTIP chief who also commended the governor for “the current unwavering effort by your administration to uplift and transform the socio-economic lives of the people of the state” pointed to an untoward development in the South East zone of the country where young girls are victims of operations of illegal maternities and clinics for illicit adoptions of innocent children.
She appealed to the governor to, among others, approve regular sponsorship of sensitization campaigns against trafficking in persons and child labour in the three senatorial districts of Enugu state.
She recalled that in recent years, NAPTIP has continued to enjoy the cooperation and support of the government and people of the state, an indication that the agency’s activities are appreciated in the coal city state.