Posted by Mayowa Okekale, Abuja | 1 December 2017 | 1,087 times
Speaker of the House of Representatives, Yakubu Dogara, has called on President Muhammadu Buhari to lead the struggle for total and unconditional emancipation of the unfortunate victims of slavery in Libya and other places where slave trade is happening by deploying Nigeria’s diplomatic and military clout to put an end to it.
This is just as he challenged the stand of the African Union (AU) and the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) on the issue, saying their voices on the ongoing inhuman trade have been too feeble.
According to the Speaker, who made the statement in a speech delivered in plenary titled, “Confronting The Scourge Of Human Trafficking And Modern Slavery”, history will remember President Buhari as one of Africa’s great statesmen if he successfully leads the campaign to eradicate modern slavery.
He stated: “Permit me to use this opportunity to call on Mr President and Commander-in-Chief to lead this struggle for total and unconditional emancipation of the unfortunate victims of this scourge.
“History beckons on our President with a gold pen and a page reserved for only Africa’s great Statesmen if he successfully leads the campaign to eradicate modern slavery. Mr President should, if necessary, deploy Nigeria’s diplomatic and military clout on this matter. We would like to see an immediate convening of emergency session of the ECOWAS and AU to launch a rescue operation as soon as possible. As it is, the voices of ECOWAS and AU are unacceptably too feeble on this devastating issue.”
Dogara commended the French President, Mr Emmanuel Macron, for taking a principled position on the matter and applying pressure on the United Nations (UN) to take urgent steps in dealing with this scourge and appealed to other nations who value freedom and the dignity of the human person to join France in working out a permanent solution to the resurgent evil.
Saying the time for the world to take responsibility and act is now, the Speaker concluded by echoing the words of His Holiness, Pope Francis, who said: “Human trafficking is a scourge, a crime against the whole of humanity. It is time to join forces and work together to free its victims and to eradicate this crime that affects all of us, from individual families to the worldwide community.”
Dogara maintained that Nigeria has a responsibility to ensure that slave trade is brought to an end and every single slave liberated.
He said by being passive to the ongoing scourge, we are granting permission, hence the need to take a stand and work towards bringing an end to the inhuman venture.
According to him, “If you thought the horrific events that led to the deaths of our girls were appalling just as we prepared to leave Italy last Friday, we received the terrifying news that another set of 30 migrants had died in the Mediterranean Sea while 200 were rescued. To our collective shame, these kinds of deaths have become a recurring decimal on account of which the Mediterranean Sea has become the cemetery where Africa’s future, which our young represent, is buried. Our findings reveal that the deaths are under-reported as the figures more often than not do not take into account those deaths for which the corpses are not recovered. It must be noted that in most cases some of the immigrants are deliberately dumped into the sea like bags of weed.
“To add salt to injury, humanity’s conscience was recently jolted by the CNN report of auctioning of black African migrants as salves in Libya where these migrants are normally held in servitude in human cargo holding facilities. I believe most of us have seen the atrocious pictures of black Africans in such overcrowded holding facilities were they are packed like sardines and often mercilessly beaten and terrorised by their captors in order to keep them subjugated. These pictures which the social media is replete with have moved even the brute and the cruel to tears.
“It is my considered opinion that we are all involved in this crime either as perpetrators or those who are aiding and abetting human trafficking by standing aloof. For we are ultimately responsible for what we allow or permit. There is a place for Nigeria in all these. As the most populous black nation on earth, we must accept the fact that if any black man or woman falls, it would be because Nigeria lacks strength.”
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