FG calls for UN probe on twenty -six drowned in the mediterranean.

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The Federal Government has called for an international inquiry into the deaths of 26 women and girls who got drowned attempting to cross the Mediterranean Sea to Europe.

The bodies of the victims, all believed to be Nigerians, were brought on a Spanish ship to Italy last Sunday, where the authorities are looking into how they died.

Twenty-three lost their lives last Friday when the inflatable dinghy they were travelling on sank. Three others were found during operations earlier in the week.

The Nigerian foreign ministry in Abuja said its mission in Rome said the victims were aged 14 to 18. It described their deaths as “a monumental loss and a sad moment for our country.”

Italian investigators have said they would be looking for signs of violence but believed it was unlikely they were victims of sex trafficking.

To this end, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) said there should be a high level investigation by the United Nations (into) this incident and others before it along the Mediterranean region.

“We need to know the identities of the owners of the rickety boats that carry people along that axis as well as their owners, so they can be prosecuted,” NAPTIP said in a statement.

NAPTIP said human trafficking and irregular migration were criminal and needed to stop because of the high numbers of deaths.

THEWILLL notes that the central Mediterranean route from the coast of Libya to Italy is currently the favoured route of undocumented migrants, most of whom are Nigerians.

Numbers have increased because of unemployment and recession in Nigeria. Established trafficking networks for prostitution in Europe date back to the 1980s.

Meanwhile, the International Organization for Migration stated that about 75 percent of the nearly 155,000 migrants and refugees who have reached Europe by sea this year arrived in Italy.

It added that a total number of 2,715 people died on the central Mediterranean route between January 1 and November 5.

In July, the UN refugee agency said it would like sanctions against known traffickers and people smugglers, including travel bans and asset freezes.

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