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NAPTIP, NGO enlist the arts in fight against human trafficking

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Founder and Chairman, Board of Trustees, Next To None Support Initiative, Mr. Ndukwe Sam Obu (left) and Director-General of NAPTIP, Mrs. Julie Okah Donli… in Abuja

The government’s body charged with the responsibility of combating human trafficking, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has entered an agreement with a non-governmental organisation to tackle human trafficking menace through the arts. The agreement, which was signed between the Director-General NAPTIP, Julie Okah Donli, and the Founder/Chairman, Board of Trustees, Next To None Support Initiative, Mr. Ndukwe Sam Obu, is aimed at ensuring effective public enlightenment on the ills of human trafficking using documentary, movies and sports as vehicles.

With the MoU, Next To None Support Initiative has been empowered to shoot a documentary and movie on the degrading and inhuman trafficking of persons and related crimes. While the documentary is expected to be premiered in about 12 months from the date of the agreement, the movie would be ready within 18 months. Beyond Africa, the movie will be shot in five other countries of the world, including the U.S, the U.K., Canada, China and Switzerland.   On his part, Obu commended the enthusiasm and commitment of NAPTIP’s boss for realising the need to partner other bodies in the fight against the scourge. According to him, since she assumed office as NAPTIP’s D-G, Donli has succeeded in introducing new strategies and measures towards combating the crime. Also, going by the agreement, both NAPTIP and the Next to None Support Initiative would collaborate in seeking sponsorship for the project.

Meanwhile, NAPTIP has undertaken to provide necessary assistance towards procuring travel documents for the movie’s cast and crew. Aside the documentary and movie, there would also be a novelty match to be played by renowned celebrities in sports and the creative industry.

According to Obu, the organisation has over 100 celebrities across the globe as its ambassadors, adding, “Notable football legends such as Roger Miller, George Opon Weah, J.J. Okocha and Garba Lawal, alongside renowned Nollywood stars, including Richard Mofe Damijo, Monalisa Chinda, as well as Lexy Mojo Eyes of the fashion industry, have all worked with us in fighting this scourge. Also partnering with us are Nigerian Football Federation (NFF), Transcorp Hilton Hotel, as well as the Federal Ministry of Youths and Sports.”

Also speaking on behalf of the organisation on the reasons for choosing entertainment as a medium of campaign, Obu stated that engaging top celebrities in the entertainment industry would draw greater attention of the youths. According to him, the idea was to use the games that youths mostly identify with to preach the gospel against human trafficking to them.

“You know the way it is,” he said, “if you have a professor coming from Oxford University to deliver a lecture on human trafficking in Nigeria, I can bet you that not even the bread-seller in the street will know about it. But if popular musicians and footballers such as Shakira, Cristiano Ronaldo or Lionel Messi are coming to play, they would be enthusiastic to listen or watch them perform.”

He stated that creating opportunity for the youths to interface with successful players in the entertainment industry would bring them to the understanding of the evils of prostitution, and the fact that with hard work, they stood greater chance of succeeding even in Nigeria. The lawyer and film producer described as worrisome revelations about modern-day slavery, as captured in some foreign media, and concluded that the most effective means of educating Nigerians on the issue is through the games they love most.

According to Obu, “We strongly believe that there is no other way and manner we can effectively take this message to the global stage than through the medium of entertainment. Human trafficking has become so serious that world media outfits now run documentary on it. Even world leaders condemn the trend. So, why would they not be interested in watching films or documentaries on it coming for the first time from Africa?

He said the organisation has personalities such as Rear Admiral Peter Ebelemeh, Hajiya Laradan Shuaibu, Professor Awa Kalu, General Lanre Apata, General Yakubu Usuman and Professor Ernest Ojukwu in its governing council.

“We intend to bring on board, representatives of the three arms of government as well as some state governors to lend their voice to the project,” he noted. “In the documentary shots, we want to see diplomats condemn human trafficking.”

And to reach the target audience, especially those within the country, Obu assured that efforts would not only be concentrated in major cities, adding, “remote towns, especially those that are notorious for housing commercial sex workers, as well as various tertiary institutions and secondary schools across the country would be visited to sensitise them on the issue.”



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