The Federal Ministry of Labour and Employment has denied complicity in human trafficking, following claims of illegal issuance of Recruiters’ Licence to Private Employment Agencies (PEAs).
According to the spokesperson of the Ministry of Labour and Employment Charles Akpan, they’ve not issued any recruiters’ licence with respect to the placement of Nigerian citizens abroad in breach of the relevant provisions of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004.
Akpan noted that there is a Labour Migration Desk which seeks to ensure and create employment opportunities for Nigerians to work legally abroad, without fear of molestation, exploitation or any form of inhuman treatment or being subjected to unfair labour practices.
“Furthermore, at no time did the Federal Government issue any moratorium against issuance of recruiters’ licence.
“The ministry is empowered by sections 23, 25 and 71 of the Labour Act Cap L1 LFN 2004 to licence fit and proper persons to operate as labour contractors and private employment agencies.
“As part of the strategies to reduce irregular labour migration whilst promoting regular migration, the ministry has put in place a Labour Migration Desk to address the associated problems with the movement of skilled and low skilled persons within and outside the country.
”It is apparent from Section 25 of the Labour Act CAP L1 2004 that persons who meet the requirements for International Licences are eligible to engage in domestic recruitment as well.
“Furthermore, a recruiting agency may recruit low, middle, or highly skilled workers for placement within and outside the country.
“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.
“It is therefore obvious that the possession of a recruiters’ licence for foreign employment does not confer or guarantee automatic clearance for a recruiter to recruit citizens for work abroad without first complying with the procedures provided in the Labour Act.
“This is before workers travel under a contract of employment with the recruiter.
“To set the records straight, at no time did any person, body or committee request the ministry to suspend its statutory duty of issuing recruiters’ licence to qualified PEAs as being peddled by some uninformed persons.
“It is therefore not true, but a Legislative misrepresentation, for the ministry to be accused or held responsible for the huge numbers of Nigerians trafficked through the Nigerian borders every year.
“The ministry should be commended for instituting a watertight licensing regime which guarantees regular migration of Nigerians to work legitimately in other countries, and for being the Secretariat of the Nigerian Task Force against Forced Labour, Child Labour and Human Trafficking.
“Those who for reasons best known to them have mounted an orchestrated campaign to malign the image of the ministry are therefore by this medium advised to discontinue as facts are sacred.”