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UNN Set To Host Int’l Conference On ‘Illegal Migration, Modern Slavery’

(AFRICAN EXAMINER) – All is now set for an international  Conference to address issue of illegal migration, modern slavery in 3rd World Countries, especially among the youths, scheduled to take place at the University of Nigeria UNN, Nsukka, Enugu state. 

A Justice of the Supreme Court of Nigeria, Justice Centus Chima Nweze will be the keynote speaker while spokesman of the House of Representatives, Rep Benjamin Okezie Kalu and member, Federal House of Representatives, FCT, Abuja, Engr. Chris Azubogu are the guest speakers, respectively.

According to the organizers, the theme of the conference, which will commence at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, University of Nigeria, Nsukka  from 27th to 29th April is “Migration And Neo-Slavery As Significant Features of The 21st Century,” with the Judge of Enugu State High Court, Justice Chukwunweike Ogbuabor as chairman of the event.

The event is being organized by the Grace Uzoma Okonkwo Foundation in collaboration with the Institute of African Studies & Department of English and Literary Studies, University of Nigeria.

Special guests of honour at the conference includes Deputy Inspector General of Police, DIG, Department of Training and Development, Nigeria Police Force, Dan-Mallam Mohammed and Chairman, Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, Abuja, Rep Abike Dabri-Erewa while the Vice Chancellor, University of Nigeria, Nsukka , Prof Charles Igwe is the chief host.     

Briefing newsmen Friday in Enugu, convener of the conference and Director, Institute of African Studies, University of Nigeria, Professor. Florence Onyebuchi Orabueze, disclosed that several scholars in various sectors have been lined up to discuss exhaustively migration and modern slavery as well as proffer solutions to it.

She said the lead papers would be presented by the Director, Centre for Migration Studies, Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, Prof. Ike Odumegwu whose paper is entitled, “Migrating for Freedom, Migrating into Slavery: 21st Century Ironies,” and the Principal and Proprietress, Supreme Knowledge Comprehensive Schools, Nkpor/Onitsha, Dr. Pat  Okeke, whose paper is tagged, “Migration and Neo-Slavery in the 21st Century: The Role of Education and Mothers.

 “We’re looking at the problem of migration and neo-slavery that is bedeviling the world. 

“This is the time for us to take a critical look at these problems. Why is it that the children are going out in droves? “Is it as a result of bad governance or is it because parents are telling their children to travel outside because your age mates have made it there?”

Orabueze, who is also the chairman, Board of Directors, Grace Uzoma Okonkwo Foundation, noted that from time to time the media “are awash with news of migrant casualties in boat mishaps in the Mediterranean Sea,” adding that the “Libyan desert has become a notorious route of death where many African nationals have perished in their quest to get to Europe.”

She said the universities were the best places to address the problems of illegal migration and neo-slavery as some of the unfortunate victims are often young products of universities in Third World countries.

The University Don however,  urged the media to continue to create massive awareness about the dangers and other implications of embarking on such trips to Europe that might turn a wild goose chase at the end of the day.

Chairman of the Local Organising Committee (LOC) of the conference, Prof. Victor Ukaogo in his contribution, said the conference wouldn’t have come at a better time than now, stressing that “there is not enough sensitization of the population on the issue concerning illegal migration. 

“The real details of running away from our country into the desert and high seas have not been made known to our youths.”

Also speaking, a member of the LOC, and an historian, Dr. Uche Okonkwo recalled that since 1807 slave trade was abolished, the world is witnessing another forms of slavery. “There is therefore the need to keep highlighting the dangers in this problem especially as it affects our young people,” he said.

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