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No fewer than 2700 Nigerians including victims of human trafficking entered into Austria between January and August 2016. Many of them also entered illegally.

The Austrian Ambassador to Nigeria, Mr. Werner Senfter disclosed this in Abuja on Wednesday while on a courtesy visit to the Headquarters of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).

‘’Not all of them are legal, of their free will; many with false and wrong hopes and undergoing dangerous journeys’’, he lamented.

He therefore called for stronger ties between Austria and Nigeria especially with NAPTIP to stem the tide of human trafficking and other forms of irregular migration from Nigeria to Austria.

He reiterated his government’s readiness to support NAPTIP in the fight against external trafficking, adding that the Embassy was already supporting a Safe House Project in Abuja though a small one at the moment.

He called on the Agency to come up with ideas that could lead to better and rewarding ties with Austrian authorities, stressing that his visit to NAPTP is to lead to better cooperation between the Embassy and the Agency on one hand and the two countries on the other. ‘’There is a wide range of benefits from cooperation’’, he further added.

In his response, the Ag. Director- General of NAPTIP Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri expressed the Agency’s gratitude to the Ambassador and the Austrian Government for their interest in collaborating with NAPTIP especially at this difficult time for many nations.

He stressed that the Agency is battling with internal and external trafficking, and can do with all the support it can get, especially from foreign governments where Nigerians are trafficked to. He expressed NAPTIP’s willingness to work with Austria in ridding the country of illegal migrants and victims of Trafficking in persons whom he believes constitute a problem for the Austrian government.

The visit had in attendance Directors of NAPTIP and the Consul General of the Austrian Embassy, Mrs Karin Pregler.

Nneka Aniagoh

For: Head, Press and Public Relations.

The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has been described as a foremost crime fighting Agency that required adequate funding as well as the support of all stakeholders in order to stem the tide of illegal migration and human trafficking in sub-Sahara Africa.

Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign and Local Debt, Senator Shehu Sani, stated this in Abuja during a courtesy visit on the Acting Director General of the Agency, Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri.

Senator Sani who is also the Vice Chairman, Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs visited NAPTIP to introduce his pet project and seek areas of collaboration in tackling issues of trafficking in persons and other areas of illegal migrations. The pet project, Pan African Initiative Against Illegal and Dangerous Migration, is on the need to arrest the current trend of illegal migration in the country.

According to him, the purpose of the visit was to “join hands with NAPTIP to raise awareness and seek partnership with the Agency as well as concerned population in countries of origin, transit and countries of asylum on the dangers of illegal migration and human trafficking.

“Engage government, international organizations and Agencies dealing with migration and refugee issues, civil society and community-based organizations in originating and transiting countries to harmonize and develop a common message to discourage illegal and dangerous migration as well as promoting and encouraging legal and safe migration.

The lawmaker who lamented the plight of illegal migrants, some of who originated from Nigeria and the attendants tragic death on the Mediterranean Sea and on the Sahara desert, called for a collective efforts of all stakeholders in minimizing the incidence of dangerous migration.

According to him, the project, will seek to bring together all stakeholders including political leaders in Africa so as to make issues of human trafficking and illegal migration a global discourse especially among the regional summit conveners.

“Trafficking in persons, illegal and dangerous migration should be made major agenda by our leaders as they meet at various levels. We need to reach out to our coastal and frontline states to deal with these issues” he stated.

He advocated increased budgetary allocation to NAPTIP saying that the emergence of the Agency was a great relief to people of Africa and Nigeria especially in dealing with issues of illegal migration and trafficking in Africa.

In his response, Acting Director – General of NAPTIP, Mr. Abdulrazak Dangiri, appreciated the efforts of the Senator and expressed the preparedness of the Agency to partner with him to ensure the success of the project.

He however disclosed that inadequate funding had remained a major challenge to the Agency. “We have many rescued victims even in the Universities and various vocations, but we cannot adequately rehabilitate them because of paucity of resources” he lamented.

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Adekoye Vincent

For: Head, Press and Public Relations