The Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi has called for government reforms and concerted efforts from stakeholders to end human trafficking, especially of the girl-child.
Oba Ogunwusi made the call while addressing journalists at a press conference to herald the #SayNoToSlavery campaign being championed by Damilola Falomo, a victim of human trafficking.
Falomo, who was trafficked to Oman in Asia six years ago, through her foundation is leading the campaign against human trafficking, especially of the girl-child.
The campaign tagged: ” #SayNoToSlavery” is targeted at students of secondary schools across Ogun state.
Ooni while addressing newsmen, advocated stiffer punishment for human traffickers, saying tackling the menace must go beyond just setting aside a day to celebrate “human trafficking day”.
Oba Ogunwusi said he and his queen, Olori Aderonke Ademiluyi-Ogunwusi had been advocating compulsory girl-child education through the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative to tackle trafficking of the girl-child.
Ooni who spoke through Sanni Omogbolabo, the Mother of Culture in Ife, said, “Over the years, I have taken it upon myself to fight this scourge to a standstill, and through the Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative, see to the overall growth, wellbeing and development of our children.
“I believe in addressing human trafficking and slavery among our people, as attention should not only be called to it only on days set aside to celebrate the day, but rather, concerted efforts towards engaging key stakeholders; as often as possible.
“To this end, a nationwide campaign on putting an end to human trafficking and slavery is been anchored by Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative and thousands of girls and women were recipients of Queen Moremi Ajasoro Initiative Entrepreneurship Grant.
“No doubt, if the girl-child is neglected in society, it might result in the destruction of the entire nation. These girls will then be exposed to all manner of social vices.
“It is my hope that both the public and private sectors will continually invest in the girl-child for sustainable development in the country.
“If we don’t invest in the girl-child, we are not investing in our nation,” he said.
He commended Falomo for leading the campaign against human trafficking in schools, saying “I am extremely proud of the woman, Damilola Falomo is becoming.
“She was trafficked to Oman and miraculously found her way back to Nigeria,” he said.
Falomo in her remarks, said human trafficking poses grave danger to the social and economic development of the country.
She lamented that, thousands of Nigerian girls who were trafficked to overseas, especially Arab countries are forced into the commercial sex trade or forced labour.