. We’ve secured 624 convictions since inception – Prof. Fatima Waziri-Azi
Ben Peters, Abuja
Permanent Secretary, Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Dr. Nasir Sani- Gwarzo, on Thursday, declared that the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has become the pride of Nigeria, which Federal Government is very proud to market to other countries.
Sani-Gwarzo said no wonder many countries now visit Nigeria regularly to understudy the NAPTIP model with a view to establishing same in their countries.
The permanent secretary, who spoke at the 20th celebration and awards organized by NAPTIP, said recently the agency played host to delegations from the Republic of Niger, Cote d Ivoire and The Gambia, who visited Nigeria to further strengthen the bilateral agreement and Memorandum of Understanding signed between Nigeria and their countries.
He said these collaborations has help enhanced the prevention, suppression and punishment of trafficking in persons in the West African sub-region.
” We are here today to celebrate the modest accomplishment in the midst of myriad challenges; to celebrate 20 years of hard work; celebrate love and friendship; institutions, regional bodies, Development partners and individuals that have supported the government and people of Nigeria in this tough task of fighting human trafficking. This award you are receiving today is just a token of appreciation to reciprocate the love and understanding shown to us. What we have achieved in these 20 years could not have happened without you.
” Human trafficking knows no boundaries; it thrives in the shadows, exploiting vulnerabilities and preying on the marginalized and defenseless. Men, women, and children fall victim to its grasp, often subjected to unspeakable horrors and unimaginable suffering. They are robbed of their dreams, their hopes, and their right to live a life free from fear and exploitation.
” The numbers themselves are staggering. But behind these numbers are individual stories of pain and despair, stories that cry out for justice and compassion and it is our moral duty to heed these cries and stand united against this global injustice.
“It is for this reason that various administrations in Nigeria have always taken actions to demonstrate the required political will in the fight against human trafficking and providing necessary direction and support to NAPTIP and other critical stakeholders in a bid to make Nigeria a Human Trafficking and Violence Free Nation.
” On the part of the Federal Ministry of Humanitarian Affairs Disaster Management and Social Development, the coordinating ministry for all humanitarian and migrations issues in Nigeria, we are committed to combating all aspect of irregular migration which requires multi-stakeholders’ engagement in comprehensive and protect multidisciplinary manner that proactively focuses on how best to and assist vulnerable persons within the entire migration circle and punish the perpetrators.”
Earlier, Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), professor Fatima Waziri-Azi said since 2003, NAPTIP has progressed from its very first command in Benin -Edo State to offices in 32 states and task force against human trafficking in 22 states.
She said they have also made progress in criminal justice response with a significant increase in convictions (624 Convictions since the first conviction was secured in 2006.
Professor Waziri-Azi said 80 convictions in 2022 which is the highest in a single year since the inception of NAPTIP and 48 convictions and counting in 2023) including for the first time the conviction of a law enforcement officer for human trafficking offences; prosecution of several mutual legal assistance cases and on the 8th of March 2023, the extradition of a high profile human trafficker to Italy to serve out her 13 years jail term.
” Our recent strategic partnership with Meta (owners of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp) and the United States National Centre for Missing and Exploited Children have further enhanced the capacity of NAPTIP to tackle issues of online child exploitation.
“Today we will present more policy documents and innovations and they include; NAPTIP Disability Inclusion Policy, NAPTIP Service Charter, policy documents that have been transcribed into braille for the blind in collaboration with the disability commission. There will also be a brief demonstration of our remodeled app called the Ireporter, and NAPTIP Learning Management System supported by the Canadian Government and lastly Audio-Visual Materials developed for use by the Blind and Deaf.
“To keep things current, for anyone who has noticed, we have rebranded our logo, which has already been mainstreamed. The rebranded logo represents a re-commitment from NAPTIP to protect all persons against human trafficking, and violence against persons through a people-centered access to justice, and the provision of safe spaces.”