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Belgium sends police to Nigeria over human trafficking

Posted by THE GUARDIAN on 2003/10/22 | Views: 523 |

Belgium sends police to Nigeria over human trafficking

AS part of renewed efforts to fight the menace of human trafficking, a Belgium police mission is being expected in the country early next month.

Intelligence reports from Belgium have fingered Nigeria as the main source from where droves of humans traffic, mostly young ladies, are syndicated into that country.

The situation, according to the Belgium Ambassador to Nigeria Josef Smets, if not arrested, is capable of soiling the "excellent relations" between the two countries, as it has already tarnished Nigeria's international image.

Conferring with the Minister of Foreign Affairs Oluyemi Adenisi yesterday in Abuja, the Belgium ambassador said.

"We have clear evidence of the operational network of human trafficking, mostly young ladies. The good news now is that we also have enough evidence to dismantle the network. It has its roots in Nigeria."

According to Smets, Belgium wants to use the coming of a police mission to Nigeria to probably start up a joint bilateral security agreement, to arrest the scourge permanently.

He said: "There is no bilateral agreement on that presently, but we might have to start it now in order to stop this horrible network which already has a negative image of Nigeria."

The envoy spoke further: "The mission will visit Edo State as well as Ogun State. There will be no secret about it. We have worked it out with the Nigerian police and that is why we want the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to second an expert to be on the team.

"We have already met with the minister of Justice on this. The feeling everywhere is that it is high time we both did something about the mess."

The ambassador also used yesterday's occasion to brief the minister about an investment promotion fair, which comes up next month in Lagos in honour of the King of Belgium.

During that period, he said a bilateral debt - re-scheduling agreement will be formalised by both countries.

He also solicited the support of the minister for approval of land meant for the construction of a Belgium embassy in Abuja.

The land was bought off an individual but has not been awarded certificate of Occupancy (C of O) by the federal Capital Development Authority (F.C.D.A).

Responding, the minister lauded the Belgium effort at seeking co-operation with the Federal Government on the issue of human trafficking.

He hoped that the coming of the police mission would give an impetus to the effort of the wife of the Vice-President, Mrs. Titi Abubakar, who runs an international body that fights against human trafficking.

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