The Senate has said that it will investigate the death of 26 young Nigerian girls in the Mediterranean Sea while travelling to Italy.
The resolution was made after a motion on the issue was raised by Sen. Rose Oko (PDP-Cross-River) during plenary on Thursday.
Recall that the gruesome story broke out on November 6 when it was reported that the dead bodies of 26 young Nigerian girls of ages 14 to 18 were discovered in a Spanish warship in the Mediterranean Sea.
While moving motion, Senator Oko said suspicion was that they were sexually abused and murdered.
She said that as of May, it was reported that about 10,000 Nigerians had perished along the Sahara Desert-Libya- Mediterranean Sea route.
She noted that Italian prosecutors who had begun investigation into the death of the girls had arrested an Egyptian and a Libyan as suspects.
She said, “This mass exodus of our children from the relative safety and security of home to the often cold hands of death have arisen and are increasing as a result of the economic hardships at home, including the unemployment situation in Nigeria.”
She said it was time to go beyond the mere feeling of horror to taking pro-active, urgent and emergency measures to address the root causes of the exodus, including massive enlightenment on the dangers therein.
Sen. Shehu Sani (APC-Kaduna) described the incident as a national tragedy. “It is unfortunate that year in year out thousands of Africans, including Nigerians, perish on their way to Europe in search of greener pastures,” Sani said.
He said that factors that led to the exodus included poverty, economic instability, unrealizable dreams and illusions as well as other components related to drug trafficking and terrorism.
He called for action that would stop young men and women from falling prey to the antics of drug peddlers and human traffickers.
Sen. Suleiman Adokwe (PDP-Nasarawa State) said, “Since the Italian Government was investigating, it is expected of the Nigerian government to by now, make definite statements as to how they will expect the Italian government to investigate this thing thoroughly.
In his remarks, the Deputy President of the Senate, Ike Ekweremadu, who presided over plenary, said government owed citizens of Nigeria the responsibility to provide the basic needs of life.
He said, “We must not fail on this responsibility. It is important for us to think of how to provide social security for our people.
The upper chamber commended the Italian authorities for immediately stepping into the matter with the hope of resolving the mystery behind the deaths.
It called on the Federal Government to set up an inter-agency committee of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nigeria Immigration Service and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons to work out a strategy to check such development.