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NAPTIP reads riot act against trafficking

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Julie Okah–Donli

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has read the riot acts against human trafficking at airports nationwide.

NAPTIP said any security official found to aid human trafficking would not be spared, no matter the level or rank.

The Director General of the agency, Julie Okah–Donli, however, urged officers who perhaps had been involved in such activity to join hands with the agency to stop the menace.

Okah–Donli, who gave the warning at the handover of information, education and communication (IEC) materials to the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), said any officer found in connivance with traffickers would be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other officers.

The International Air Transport Association (IATA) recently disclosed that 24.9 million people are illegally trafficked yearly through the airports to live in conditions of modern slavery.

Okah–Donli said the challenges of human trafficking and illegal migration had become quite enormous that it required new initiatives, which must be developed to ensure sustained successes against the twin monsters.

She appealed to airlines and the airport manager to display counter-trafficking messages at the check-in and boarding areas as well as along boarding gates.

She urged airlines to ensure that they have such messages as part of the in-flight audio and visual communications.

Part of the materials NAPTIP  handed over to FAAN include 70 roll on banners and 30 wall banners, which she said would step up sensitization against the twin scourge of human trafficking and illegal migration.

While calling for collaboration among government and other agencies at major airports and land borders, she urged them to report any suspected official or persons aiding and abetting human trafficking and illegal migration

She said the interface with FAAN and other players in the aviation sector had become imperative in curbing the menace of human trafficking in Nigeria.

“In the last few years, there have been reports of large number of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in North Africa, especially Libya, Asia and European countries, apart from the hundreds that continue to die in Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea.”

The NAPTIP boss while calling for the support of various actors across board to achieve its mandate said, to date, over 204 traffickers had been convicted and were serving various jail terms.

“17,000 victims have been rescued and counseled with a good number empowered by the agency from primary schools to university level who is now officers of NAPTIP”.

Country Director, United States Government, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, James Jewett, commended the partners who contributed to the implementation of the project that costs about $400, 000.

“A grant of over $400,000 was awarded to implement this very important project. The objective of this project is to enforce and enhance state and non-state sectoral responses toward combating trafficking in persons in Nigeria”.

Also speaking, Country Manager, UNODC, Abimbola Adewunmi, said the body was excited to support Nigerian government in tacking the scourge of human trafficking and illegal migration.

“When they see this banner they would reflect and also can reexamine the journey and think twice and say: ‘is it safe for me to go?’ It also shows that the Nigerian government is also putting trust in the law enforcement agencies at the airports”.

Managing Director, FAAN, Captain Hamisu Yadudu, said the partnership with NAPTIP would assist in fighting the scourge of human trafficking and assist in passenger facilitation.


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