By MBAFAN ADE, Abuja
The Nigerian Government has mandated the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), to carry out a comprehensive screening of all members of the country’s contingent to the World cup in Russia in order to forestall any incidence of human trafficking.
To this end, all members of the Nigeria Supporters Club, large delegation and other organized bodies are to submit the list of members traveling to Russia to NAPTIP for screening after which a clearance Certificate will be issued to enable them travel out of the country for the soccer fiesta.
This was the outcome of the meeting between the Officials of the Federal Ministry of Youth & Sports led by the Minister, Mr. Solomon Dalung, management of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) led by the Director – General, Dame Julie Okah – Donli and officials of the embassy of Russia in Nigeria.
It would be recalled that the Director – General of NAPTIP, had two weeks ago, while briefing newsmen, alerted on plans by some unscrupulous persons working in collaboration with some suspected human traffickers, to use the occasion of the World cup to traffic Nigerians for sexual and labour exploitation.
The NAPTIP boss stated that available intelligence indicated that some of the suspected human traffickers have commenced the process of recruiting vulnerable Nigerians and conscripting them into unauthorized Supporters Clubs and unrecognized delegation for the purpose of ensuring easy passage after which such victims are assisted to defect at Moscow.
Speaking during the meeting, the Minister disclosed that the meeting was called to review preparations of Nigeria’s participation at the forthcoming 2018 FIFA World Cup finals holding in Russia.
He stated further that in order to ensure that some suspected human traffickers do not feast on Nigeria youths by trafficking them under the guise of football fans, NAPTIP shall carry out thorough screening of all contingents to the game, issue them a clearance certificate that will enable the Officers of the Nigerian immigration Service (NIS) to allow them to board at the various exit point in the country.
The minister who reiterated the determination of the federal government of Nigeria to ensure victory for the Nigeria team during the World Cup, made it clear that his ministry shall provide all the necessary assistance to NAPTIP in order to effectively carry out the assignment.
While urging the Agency to deploy enough men and resources to carry out the national assignment without any delay, the Minister called on all organized bodies, corporate organization and other stakeholders to present the list of their delegation to NAPTIP for screening and clearance early to avoid last minutes rush.
Earlier in her presentation, the Director – General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah – Donli, had disclosed that the Agency was concerned over the fate of several victims of human trafficking currently stranded in Russia and cannot afford to have more Nigerian in the same situation.
The NAPTIP boss pointed out that apart from preparing the fans for the trip through proper screening, the Agency shall also monitor them on arrival to ensure that they did not defect.
She promised to ensure swift screening and clearance of all intending football supporters knowing fully that the assignment is time-bound.
The meeting was attended by officials from the Federal ministry of Youth and Sports and NAPTIP.