By Nefishetu Yakubu
Anti-human trafficking groups in the country on Thursday inaugurated a Blue Bus initiative to raise awareness on the dangers of human trafficking and irregular migration in Edo.
The groups are the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in collaboration with the International Organisation for Migration (IOM).
Chidiebere Oruruo-Ifudu, NAPTIP Zonal Commander, Benin Zonal Command, said the initiative was to raise awareness and direct more attention to the detrimental impact of human trafficking in Nigeria.
Oruruo-Ifudu explained that the Blue Bus would travel round the 10 local government areas of Oredo, Egor, Ikpoba-Okha, Esan North East, Esan West and Ovia North East among others for the next eight weeks before moving to Delta.
Oruruo-Ifudu noted that the initiative had already been launched in Lagos and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), Abuja.
She stated that awareness and sensitisation were critical pillars of the agency, adding that many Nigeria youths had lost their lives while traveling through the desert and Mediterranean Sea.
The Commander advised parents to ensure that their children travelled out of the country through the right way as well as acquired skills in addition to their academic certificates.
“The Blue Bus initiative is a creation of our collaboration with IOM and supported by the Switzerland government.
“In the Blue Bus, there is going to be on the spot counselling services whereby victims of human trafficking will come and receive counselling services and be rehabilitated.
“If you must travel overseas, travel the right way. Also ensure that apart from academic certificate you acquire skills for you to be gainfully employed,” she said.
On his part, Frantz Celestin, Chief Mission of IOM, Nigeria, said the essence of the Blue Bus initiative was to spread messages about the ills and dangers associated with human trafficking and irregular migration in the country.
Celestin, represented by Aigbeze Uhimwen, IOM senior project assistant, said Edo was endemic in human trafficking and irregular migration adding that the project was geared toward increasing awareness and sensitisation.
The News Agency of Nigeria NAN reports that the inaugurated Blue Bus had the symbol “Shine Your Eyes” boldly written on it. (NAN)