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.
For: Head, Press and Public Relations
A Federal High Court sitting in Abeokuta, Ogun State has sentenced one Ebunoluwa Bankole, 59 years old woman to 30 years imprisonment. She is also to pay a fine of N1, 000,000.00 (one million naira) only for the procurement and exportation of young Nigerian Women to Libya for Prostitution.
Bankole, who was convicted on a six count charge for offences that contravene sections 13 (4b), 14(b) and 18 of the Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015, bagged five years for each count. The sentence would however, run concurrently.
She was arrested and investigated by officers of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) following a petition dated 26th January, 2016 from a group of Solicitors and Advocates of Human Right, on suspected human trafficking activities being carried out by her, her daughter Lateefat Sanni and son-in-law Muritala Sanni, who are both still at large.
The said petition followed a report to the solicitors by two of the convict’s victims, who approached the solicitors for assistance in finding the whereabouts of their daughters having not heard from them for two weeks.
The petition reported that Bankole’s daughter and son-in-law who are based in Libya usually collected money ranging from the sum of N500, 000 to N1.5 million from their victims with promises of taking them to countries from where they could easily secure visas to either the United Kingdom or United States of America.
Following Ebunoluwa’s conviction, NAPTIP has been charged not to relent in its efforts to arrest Lateefat Sanni and her husband Muritala Sanni who are reportedly still holding and exploiting Nigerian girls in Libya.
Meanwhile, prior to Bankole’s conviction, NAPTIP had secured the conviction of one Mojisola Olonade and Segun Taiwo Sholabi for obstructing NAPTIP officers while effecting the arrest of Lateefat Sanni who had sneaked into the country. The obstruction, which led to the escape of the suspect is an offence contrary to section 32(2b) of the Trafficking In Persons (Prohibition) Enforcement and Administration Act 2015. They were sentenced to one year imprisonment each or a fine of N100,000 each.
Reacting to this development, the Acting Director-General, Alhaji Abdulrazak Dangiri stated that the Agency will not rest on its oars in bringing all traffickers to justice.
For: Head, Press and Public Relations (NAPTIP)
September 28, 2016