The presidential candidate of the Labour Party at the 2023 general election, Peter Obi suggests that the recent surge in insecurity and poverty in the country has increased the number of slaves and people forced into child labour and various forms of sexual exploitation in the country.
Making this claim in a statement made available on his official X handle to commemorate the International Day for the Abolition of Slavery, Naija News reports that Obi lamented that Nigeria had continued to maintain bad records of having a high number of modern-day slaves.
Obi in the statement lamented that “Nigeria has continued to witness and maintain bad records of having a high number of modern-day slaves both within our borders and in terms of our citizens ‘exported’ into modern-day slavery.
The recent surge in insecurity and high rate of poverty in the country has heightened the reported number of slaves and people forced into child labour and various forms of sexual exploitation in the country.
“The constant kidnap and abduction of people by criminal elements; human trafficking and forceful exploitation of young Nigerians all demand that serious actions be taken by the government and relevant stakeholders to restore the dignity of our citizens in distress.
The Walk Free Organisation, in their 2023 Global Slavery Index report, stated that on any given day in 2021, there were 1.6 million individuals living in modern slavery in Nigeria. It also reported that Nigeria ranked fifth out of 51 countries in Africa in terms of prevalence of modern slavery and 38 out of 160 countries globally.
Also, a publication by Innovations for Poverty Action states that an estimated one million Nigerians are trafficked every year, as Nigeria remains a major human trafficking source, hub, and destination country.
With all these in view, the Nigerian government and all relevant stakeholders need to make more concerted efforts to completely abolish this shameful practice and societal scourge of slavery.
This is the only way our country can be truly ‘bound in freedom as prayed in our National Anthem. Slavery, in any form, will have no place in the New Nigeria we all look forward to. Ours should be a land of the dignity of all citizens.”