Speaking at the 2017 Annual Conference of the Comptroller General of Immigration held at the MITROS Residences in Abeokuta, Obasanjo said that slave trade in the 21st century should be condemned in the strongest term possible.
The theme for the conference was : “Managing Migration and Facilitating Trade and Development in 21st Century Nigeria: NIS’ Perspective”.
The former president noted that the current development in Africa should be a sober reflection for African leaders.
He explained that the leaders must feel a sense of regret on what they ought to do, what they had done and what they had not done.
“I believe that slave trade in the 21st century should be condemned in the strongest language possible and nobody who is involved in it should be excused.
“What can we do and what must we do? We must ensure that conducive atmosphere is created for genuine exchange of goods and ensure development within our country, sub-region, continent and the world which we live.
“But then today, migration has a very nasty connotation particularly when you watch the television and you hear the story of thousands of our youths daring to go through the desert.
“Then after they have embark on such perilous journeys, some of them are sold as slaves. Slaves in the 21st century, Africans being sold by Africans and maybe to Africans.
“All of us as leaders must feel a sense of regret and have sober reflection on what we have done or what we have not done to bring this about to our own people, ” he said.
Obasanjo, charged the men of the NIS to imbibe the culture of training, professionalism, integrity, loyalty, and service, saying that all these must not be taken for granted.
In his address, the Comptroller – General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, said that the service was committed to safe and regular migration of Nigerian citizens and foreigners.
He disclosed that the current issue being witnessed in Libya was not new to the NIS and it had regularly engaged in measures and activities to reduce the menace.
Babandede however warned travel agencies, individuals and officers in the passport offices at various borders who are engaged in smuggling of migrants to desist from it, saying anybody found wanting would be made to face the law.
He said that the service have some cases of smuggling under investigation, urging his men to step -up their activities through intelligence gathering, speedy investigations to allow the law to take its full course .
Babandede added that starting January, 2018, the National Identity Number would be part of requirements for issuance of Nigerian passport with the National Identity Management Commission.
He noted that the aim of the conference was to review the E- passport, after 10 years of its introduction in order to better the services they rendered.
“I wish to state that NIS is committed to safe and regular migration to prevent the sad stories of loss of lives and sources of Nigerian citizens and others, occasioned by the desperate journey through the Sahara desert and the Mediterranean sea.
“The recent media revelations of the sad events in Libya are not new to the NIS and we had regularly engaged in measures and activities to reduce the menace in collaboration with partners and stakeholders, ” he said.
Earlier, Gov. Ibikunle Amosun who declared the conference open, also condemned the resurrection of slave trade in Libya, saying that African leaders should rise to condemn the act.
Amosun charged all the participants at the conference to see the programme as an avenue to brainstorm and come up with practical solutions that would be of benefits to the Nigerians and the country.
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