Trafficking of Nigerians: Labour ministry reacts to indictment

Trafficking of Nigerians: Labour ministry reacts to indictment

The Ministry of Labour and Employment has denied involvement in illegal issuance of Recruiters’ Licence to Private Employment Agencies (PEAs) for human trafficking.

The House of Representatives indicted the ministry last month.

In a rejoinder, Charles Akpan, Deputy Director of Public Relations, said the ministry in no way breached the relevant provisions of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004.

He explained that in line with reducing irregular labour migration, it has put in place a Labour Migration Desk to address the problems with the movement of skilled and low skilled persons within and outside Nigeria.

Akpan said that one of the basic means of implementing the principles of Convention 181 on private employment agencies was their mandatory registration and licencing.

The spokesman noted that recruiters’ licences were issued to fit and proper persons and agencies in accordance with Section 25 of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004 and other requirements for issuance.

Akpan insisted that recruiters are bound by the provisions of the Labour Act with respect to welfare and conditions of work of the worker and the procedures for operating the licence.

The ministry clarified that any citizen leaving Nigeria under a foreign contract should fulfill provisions in Section 39 of the Labour Act CAP L1, 2004.

“The recruited worker must be brought before an authorised labour officer and certified by that officer as duly recruited in accordance with the provisions of the law.”

He said possession of recruiters’ licence for foreign employment does not guarantee automatic clearance for a recruiter to recruit citizens for work abroad.

Akpan emphasised that to date, no PEA issued clearance by the ministry had been found to be involved in human trafficking.

Also, that none of the trafficked Nigerian girls to Lebanon or any other country was linked to a PEAs issued licence and clearance by the ministry.

The statement added that the ministry did not constitute part of the security architecture at land and sea borders and international airports.

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