By Oladapo Udom
Mr Viashima Akaayar, a lecturer with the University of Lagos, vying for the position of the President, Mutual Union of Tiv (MUT) in Lagos, has promised to collaborate with relevant government agencies to tackle human trafficking in Benue.
Akaayar told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Sunday in Lagos that youth trafficking was a major menace in the state and the country generally, blaming it on poverty and unemployment.
“Youth trafficking is a major problem we have in Lagos and I have noticed that along the line, some of these people are from Benue.
“The state of poverty is what is responsible for the high rate of trafficking of people in the country.
“These traffickers travel to different states to deceive their suspects of promised jobs in Lagos State only to be brought here to be sold into slavery,” he alleged.
According to him, some of these traffickers don’t even get their victims to Lagos State but end up diverting them to Ogun or other states.
“We have tracked one of the notorious trafficking agents who operates between Benue and Lagos State and he showed us all their mode of operations.
“We want to tackle the root of this problem and get security agencies involved to reduce trafficking to a minimum.
“We will also get some NGO’s dedicated to humanitarian services to look into this area to make sure that the issue of modern slavery is brought to a halt,” he said.
Akaayar said that many factors were responsible for the increased rate of trafficking in the society which needed to be tackled at the root.
“Factors such as increased level of poverty, greed for money, ignorance on the part of the victims, lack of enforcing the law by the enforcement agencies among others need to be addressed.
“Also, we will have to get our people enlightened about this through increased awareness,” he assured.
The lecturer also said he would establish a commercial hub for Benue indigenes called ‘Ayatutu House’ to boost trade among the Tiv communities in Lagos State.
“This will help our members to engage in trading and help promote and showcase our cultural values to the world,” he said.
Akaayar claimed they were about 3 million Benue indigenes residing in Lagos, which he described as a formidable force to reckon with in terms of socio-economic development.
He described the development of the MUT in Lagos as a project and assured that “together, we can fix our interest in Lagos state”.
“Once we are united in Lagos State, we will be able to contribute positively and have a united significant impact to the issues that pose as challenges in Benue State,” he said.
NAN reports that the National Union of Benue State Students (NUBESS), UNILAG had also endorsed his candidature for the position.
The president of the union, Mr Jonathan Torakume, a 300 level Law student, said that Akaayar was the man for the job because of his disposition to academic excellence. (NAN) (www.nannews.ng)