By Deborah Coker
The worrisome cases of human trafficking have forced the Edo state government to dedicate two courts to accelerate hearing of such cases.
The Edo Chief Judge, Justice Esohe Ikponmwen, who spoke on the designated courts urged the judges to rise above sentiments in the dispensation of justice, be firm and not swayed by name dropping.
The chief judge unveiled the plan to tackle the menace when she hosted in Benin, Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, the Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
She noted that the issues of human trafficking had become embarrassing to the country and urged stakeholders to put hands on deck to check the trend.
Ikponmwen said that human trafficking is a heinous crime, adding that perpetrators would be punished accordingly.
Earlier Okah-Donli appreciated the Edo chief judge for dedicating two courts to hear cases of human trafficking for speedy dispensation of justice.
She however appealed that judges presiding over the courts should study the NAPTIP Law 2015 in order to be properly guided.
She said that the law stipulates stringent penalty for human traffickers, and stressed that judges should be conversant with the NAPTIP Law.
The director general also appealed for speedy documentation of testimonies of victims to avoid them “caving in to threats from traffickers.’’
The United Global Resolve For Peace (UGRFP), had earlier in the week called for increased commitment from government at all levels in the fight against human trafficking.
Shalom Olaseni, UGRFP’ s Executive Director, said in Abuja, that human trafficking, slavery and migration crises had eaten deeply into Nigeria as it had defaced countries of the world.
According to him, unemployment, insecurity and economic factors have contributed immensely to the global menace.
Olaseni said that issues of human trafficking was the focus of UGRFP’s meeting with Maria Giammarinaro, the UN Special Rapporteur on Trafficking in Persons, Especially Women and Children.
“While these factors militate against efforts to arrest this unfortunate situation, the lethargic approach of the government of Nigeria, state and federal, towards stemming this social malaise is cause for even graver concern.
“The role of the government with its instrument of state power and policy cannot be dispensed with as efforts are put in place to curb and end human trafficking and slavery on and off the shores of Nigeria.
“In the light of the huge effort required to restrain the trade in persons, due credit must be given to NAPTIP for their commitment to fighting human trafficking, the successful prosecution of traffickers to discourage others from this inhumane and criminal network and the rehabilitation of the victims of human trafficking.
“Nevertheless, the underlying and driving factors of this menace must be combated by a combined effort of civil society groups, the Nigerian government and international communities.
“The Nigerian government must do more by increasing wages through job creation and also create an enabling economy for foreign investors.’’