South Africa on Thursday joined the international community to condemn the alleged auctioning of African migrants in Libya as slaves.
This came after a video footage apparently showing Africans being auctioned in Libya, went viral on social media.
“These inhumane acts are incongruent with the ideals of the AU and relevant African and international instruments, including the African Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights,” said Clayson Monyela, spokesperson for the Department of International Relations and Cooperation.
“South Africa calls for an immediate end to these atrocities and other criminal acts of human trafficking,’’ Monyela said.
The Libyan authorities have pledged to investigate reports that hundreds of African refugees are being bought and sold in “slave markets” across Libya every week.
Many of them are held for ransom or forced into prostitution and sexual exploitation to pay their captors and smugglers.
“South Africa welcomes the announcement by the Libyan authorities to investigate and identify all the perpetrators and accomplices of these criminal acts and looks forward to a transparent and credible investigation.
“Publishing the outcome of the investigation will be the most prudent and welcome thing to do by the Libyan authorities.
“We further urge the Libyan authorities to do everything in their power to improve the conditions of African migrants in the camps meant to house migrants on their territory.
South Africa will continue its work to eradicate human trafficking and support international efforts to bring those who abuse vulnerable people to justice.
“We will continue to champion the respect for human rights, especially those of our fellow African brothers and sisters,’’ said Monyela.
Similarly, French President Emmanuel Macron said on Wednesday that nine European and African nations, AU, the EU and the UN), have decided to urgently evacuate African migrants trapped in Libya.
Macron made the remarks at a news conference after an urgent meeting following the opening of the 5th AU-EU summit in Abidjan, the economic capital of Cote d’Ivoire.
Cote d’Ivoire President Alassane Ouattara called for an end to “the practice that belongs to another age” at the opening of the summit.
The UN, AU, EU and countries including Germany, Italy, Spain, France, Chad, Niger, Libya, Republic of Congo and Morocco jointly agreed on the evacuation.
Macron said the evacuation will take place in the next few days or weeks, and called for the punishment of human traffickers linked to terrorist groups.
Libya has fallen into chaos since the 2011 uprising which led to the overthrow and killing of its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi.
The coast of the North African continent has become a hub for human trafficking.
Motor dealers urge FG to reduce import duty to 20%
The Association of Motor Dealers of Nigeria has called on the Federal Government to reduce import duty rates on fairly-used cars to 20 per cent.
The National President of the association, Mr. Ajibola Adedoyin, said made the appeal at a news conference in Abuja on the ongoing seizure of vehicles without import duty in various car dealers’ shops across the nation.
He said that the current rate being charged by the Nigeria Customs Service for import duty was huge as it was currently making the cost of imported vehicles very expensive.
He said currently, Customs was charging 35 per cent for the importation cost of salon cars while for sport utility cars and other luxury vehicles, about 70 per cent of the value of the car was being charged as import duty.
He said that this was in addition to other charges imposed on the vehicles before they were finally cleared at the port of entry.
Adedoyin said the current campaign by the NCS where vehicles without import duty were seized from car parks of motor dealers was having adverse effects on the auto-industry.
He said about 400 cars worth over N1.7 billion had so far been seized by NCS.
To this end, he said the association was appealing to the Comptroller-General of Customs, to give its members more time to pay import duties for the cars they had earlier imported without paying the required charges.
This, he said, would provide car dealers as well as other Nigerians with another opportunity to pay the required import duty on their vehicles.
He said unlike the last exercise that lasted for six weeks out of which two weeks were lost to technical hitches, the NCS should give the association additional three months grace period.
“As a responsible organisation, we do not in any way support any form of illegality.
“However, we are left with no other option than to once again seek the magnanimity of the CG of Customs for another opportunity for all our members to comply.
“Our plea is based on the reasoning that given the window, NCS will generate more funds for the government while our members’ investments will be protected and further sacking of staff will be reduced.
“If given this opportunity, AMDON will work with Customs to ensure strict compliance, while we continue to discourage the smuggling of vehicles,’’ he said.
Adedoyin blamed the implementation of the Federal Government’s Automotive Policy, which had raised customs duty and levies on imported fairly used cars.
He said in a bid to force people to patronise cars assembled in Nigeria, the government had raised import duty, noting that the move led to an increase in the price of imported vehicles.
“We call on the executive and the legislators to take a second look at the workability of this policy and reduce the amount of duty on imported vehicles, as this is the only permanent solution to this issue.
“This will automatically encourage more people to pay their duty and equally make vehicles affordable to Nigerians,” he said.