By Simeon OSAJIE
The Justice Development Peace and Caritas Initiatives, (JDPCI), Uromi, Esan North-East local government area of Edo State have appealed to Media Practitioners through the leadership of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Edo State Council the need to help amplify the clusters advocacy campaigns against human trafficking that will draw the attention of Policy Makers in Nigeria.
Addressing journalists during the one day dialogue session, titled: “Activate and Institutionalize Trafficking In-person Response At The LGAs Of Edo State By 2024 Using 3-LGAs” (one from each senatorial district as a pilot)which took place on Thursday, 17th March, 2023 at the Conference Hall of Edo NUJ, Benin City, Edo State capital, the Executive Director, JDPCI Uromi, Very Rev. Fr. Dr. Fidelity Arhedo, opined that the project had through a phased approach, invested in strengthening the capacity of key stakeholders around pertinent issues around the subject matter.
“The overall objective of this project is to activate and institutionalize trafficking in-person response at the local government areas of Edo State by 2024 using three (3) LGAs (one from each senatorial district)as a pilot).
“Most importantly, this dialogue session gear towards on how Journalists can work collectively with us, the Cluster using both mainstream and online media to publicize and highlight the Clusters’ advocacy work, its importance in countering human trafficking and draw attention of policy makers to the issues thereby contributing their quota in creating meaningful change towards countering human trafficking in Edo State in line with Journalism cardinal principles of passion for truth, social responsibility and public interest.”
Going further, Rev Fr. Arhedo emphasized that, in line with strengthening Civic Advocacy and Local Engagement, SCALE, they aim to engage lawmakers, the Executive, LGAs Structure and relevant Ministries Departments, Agencies and MDAs, in ensuring Legislative review of Edo State Trafficking In-person Prohibition Law 2018.
Arhedo added that Uromi JDPCI Cluster Members include Uromi JDPCI, Josemaria Escriva Foundation, JDPC, Auchi, Willy Johnson Foundation (WJF), Ideal Development and Resource Centre, (JDRC) Benin, Girla Power Initiative (GPI) Benin and Edo State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking.
“The review will make provisions for the creation of Trafficking in-person Response Units at the various local government areas levels across the state.
“The advocacy is also looking at the activation of the Victims Trust funds as stipulated under Sections 67 and 68 of the Edo TIP Law 2018 to empower the victims of human trafficking,” he maintained.
Continuing, he said that they also seek to see an upward review in budgetary allocation for the State Taskforce Against Human Trafficking, ETATH, to improve the provision of protection, reintegration and rehabilitation services to survivors.
Noting the role of the media, Rev Fr Arhedo stressed that the greatest opportunity to arrest the scourge rests on local levels that will be transmitted by the media for the public interest.
On his part, the host and Edo State Chairman of the Nigeria Union of Journalists, (NUJ), Edo State Council, Comrade Festus Alenkhe assured the organizer that the media would continuous support the state in sensitizing the public of the danger posed by human trafficking.
Contributing, the Benin Zonal Commander of the National Agency For the Prohibition of Trafficking In-Person, (NAPTIP) Nduka Nwanwene said that the dialogue is very important and strategic, because media is very very important to help sensitizing the public of the danger posed by human trafficking.
“Sometime I wonder what would have happen if the media is not there. I also want to appeal to the organisers of the project to also train the media in strategic ways of reporting issues of human trafficking,” he said.
Nwanwene expressed optimism that the synergy will promote public awareness drive.