Chairman of UBA Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, has described human trafficking as evil, saying the practice does not only strip the youths of dignity but also denies them opportunity.
Elumelu, who is founder of Tony Elumelu Foundation, stated this last weekend while hosting the Director General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli.
He also commended the NAPTIP boss for her accomplishments at the agency, including the conviction of over 325 persons and successful rehabilitation of more than 12,000 victims, noting her status as a former staff of United Bank for Africa, UBA.
Elumelu said: “She is an alumnus of United Bank for Africa, UBA, Africa’s global bank, thus we are not surprised at what she has become. We predicted that she will attain such great heights because of the passion she has always had for human trafficking.
“We support what you are doing and we stand behind you. The Tony Elumelu Foundation believes in the empowerment of our youths and as we all know, they cannot be empowered if they are not free.
“We stand with you in eradicating human trafficking in Nigeria and will engage extensively with you as you work to restore dignity to mankind, protect the dignity of our youth and ensure no one can take undue advantage of them.
“I call on the Federal Government to make more resources available to support you. As private companies, we pay taxes to the government and we want to see a more judicious use of the taxes paid.” Elumelu also urged other private sector players to join the agency to fight human trafficking, assuring them of the credibility and competency of NAPTIP and its DG whom he could vouch for.
“If she succeeds, we will all succeed. Let us come together to make sure our youths, our future leaders, are not trafficked.” In her remarks, NAPTIP Director-General, Okah-Donli, said UNESCO had ranked human trafficking as the third most lucrative criminal enterprise in Nigeria. According to her, NAPTIP needs good laws, sustained funding and critical s upport from local and global stakeholders to execute the urgent war against human trafficking.
“We can no longer wait for government alone to fight this war. Many victims are on standby, anxious to be fully reintegrated into society.
At the agency, we are desperate for assistance to empower and rehabilitate these millions of victims in need. ‘’Thus, we are identifying and approaching organizations like the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) for support.
“We need to refurbish and rehabilitate our existing shelters, facilitate periodic provision of food, clothing and medical consumables and shelter for victims. We also need assistance in the development of standard skills’ acquisition centres in strategic locations for the training of vulnerable persons, as well as rescued victims,’’ she said.