ENUGU, Nigeria (VOICE OF NAIJA) – As part of efforts to eliminate the menace of migrants’ smuggling, the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) said it arrested 12 human smugglers in 2023.
It said also that 522 victims have been handed over to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons NAPTIP.
This was disclosed by Comptroller General of Immigration, Caroline Wuraola-Adepoju at a forum Tuesday in Abuja to commence a weeklong chain of activities for the commemoration of World Migrants Day scheduled for December 18.
She said: “The Nigeria Immigration Service is committed to combating the Smuggling of Migrants through a multi-faceted approach that involves prevention, enforcement and international cooperation.
“Preventive efforts are crucial in addressing the root causes of migrant smuggling. We recognize the importance of raising awareness about the dangers of irregular migration and the deceptive tactics used by smugglers to lure their victims. We are working in collaboration with other government agencies, civil society organisations and the media to educate the public about the risks associated with irregular migration and the legal pathways available for safe and orderly migration. In this regard, we have collaborated with the NYSC to reach youths, we have also collaborated with media houses, faith-based organisations, schools, markets and union leaders to sensitize the populace.
“Enforcement is equally important in disrupting the activities of migrant smugglers and holding them accountable for their criminal actions. Our personnel are actively engaged in identifying, investigating and prosecuting individuals and criminal networks involved in migrant smuggling. For this year alone, we have the following statistics; “Number of suspected migrant smugglers arrested – 12
“No. of objects of migrants smuggling repatriated/reunited – 208
“No. of migrant smuggling cases under investigation/recommended for prosecution – 12
“No. of suspected traffickers/victims of Trafficking in Persons TIP handed over to NAPTIP – 522.
“We have also implemented measures to enhance border security and strengthen our immigration control mechanisms to detect and intercept perpetrators of this heinous crime. Technologies like biometric identifications, surveillance cameras at key borders, Advanced Passenger Information System (APIS), are emplaced by the Service to deter the Smuggling of Migrants across Nigerian borders.
“Furthermore, international cooperation plays a vital role in addressing the transnational nature of migrant smuggling. We are engaged in collaborative initiatives with regional and international partners to share information, intelligence and best practices in combating migrant smuggling. Building strong partnerships and enhancing cross-border cooperation are essential in disrupting the criminal networks that operate across multiple countries.
“On this occasion of Anti-smuggling of Migrants Week, we reaffirm our commitment to upholding the rights of migrants, protecting their well-being and ensuring their safe and orderly migration.”
According to her, the opening ceremony of the World Migrants Day “will take place properly on Thursday 14 December after which there will be presentations and a medical outreach and corporate social responsibility at Local Education Authority Primary School, Sauka. Thereafter, on Friday 15 December there will be sensitization at Government Secondary School, Airport; University of Abuja and Gosa market.
“Finally, the grand finale will be on Monday 18 December 2023 where officers and men are expected to sensitize passport applicants in all our formations.”