An impressive feat in the implementation of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2022 – 2026), was recorded today Monday 31st October 2022 as the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) officially presented the Policy to Heads of Relevant Organizations and Stakeholders.
The event featured the presentation of the objectives, overview, responsibilities of duty-bearing Agencies, the financing strategy as well as stocktaking on the stages of the implementation. It was attended by representatives of the development partners, members of the Civil Society Organization, Sister Law Enforcement Agencies, Media Partners as well as other stakeholders.
In Her keynote address, the Honourable Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya Umar Farouk represented by Mr. Charles Anielo, called for improved collaboration among implementing Agencies as well as stocktaking to effectively measure the impact of the Policy.
The Minister said, “” Nigeria currently enjoys a pride of place in the comity of nations as a model in combating human trafficking. This unique status was not just attained in 2003, when Nigeria domesticated the UNTOC Protocol to Prevent, Suppress and Punish Trafficking in Persons, especially Women and Children, supplementing the UN Convention Against Transnational Organized Crime (2000) but was reinforced with the promulgation into law of Nigeria’s first anti-human trafficking Act in 2003, which was amended in 2005 and re-enacted in 2015.
“The Nigeria government adopted a multi-sectoral response strategy and an all-inclusive approach to strengthening policy framework and response to Human Trafficking by designing its first National Action Plan (NAP) on Human Trafficking in Nigeria (2009 – 2012). You may recall that pursuant to this, a National Technical Committee was set up in 2006, comprising experts from state and non-state actors to, among others; develop a National Action Plan; integrate existing and emerging trends of trafficking in persons into the National Plan in line with the NAPTIP’s Priorities and mobilize resources for its implementation in collaboration with the partners.
“Therefore, this second edition of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking is a product of that process and part of the Federal Government’s comprehensive strategy to stamp out human trafficking through a well-coordinated implementation of all anti-trafficking interventions in Nigeria, incorporating proper accountability, monitoring and evaluation mechanisms. It is expected to foster greater collaboration among stakeholders for greater effectiveness and efficiency in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria and sets year-on-year benchmarks for stakeholders’ implementation and evaluation of the successes of implemented activities.
“Your Excellencies, distinguished stakeholders, this Policy Document could not have come at a better time than now, when the country is facing a number of social, humanitarian and developmental issues. I am aware that several projects have already commenced in some quarters, in line with some of the Strategic Goals of the NAP. I will therefore request that stocktaking should begin immediately after this meeting to enable the proper tracking of all activities from the onset as captured in the document. This would ensure effective comprehensive national reporting of all anti-human trafficking activities; to ensure Nigeria retains its leading position on this subject and also pave way for her elevation to the Tier 1 Status in 2023 United State ratings”, the Minister said.
In her welcome address, the Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri – Azi, who described the Policy as a living document, reiterated her determination to ensure the overall success of the implementation of the National Action Plan through proper coordination and keeping to the contents of the Policy.
Dr. Fatima Waziri – Azi, took time to recall processes that culminated in the approval of the current National Action Plans on Human Trafficking and appreciated the support of Partners and Stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking saying
“I want to also specially recognize the presence of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes (UNODC) for its critical role in providing technical support at various stages of the development of this Action Plan. This meeting is the final activity in the first phase of the development and implementation of the NAP and the UNODC has been very supportive as the co-implementing partner with NAPTIP on this Project. I deeply commend the International Organization for Migration (IOM) for supporting the Presentation of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking to heads of MDAs and Stakeholders, which I consider absolutely strategic in Nigeria’s counter-trafficking landscape.
“Distinguish invitees, you would agree with me that the most assertive need of every nation, especially in the third-world economies, is the search for economic stability, well-being of her citizenry, and the continuous quest for the attainment of human security. This has been the compelling imperative for the persistent emphasis on strengthening the social justice system in the country. In the case of Nigeria, one of the greatest contemporary crises is the challenge of human trafficking which has remained a source of threat to international, national, and human security.
“The Nigerian government has, over the years, realized the strategic roles of all segments of the society in combating this social ill, hence the Whole of Government and Whole of Society” approach by NAPTIP in addressing this horrendous practice. After the establishment of NAPTIP, the Agency has continuously developed and expanded structures to deepen the involvement of relevant actors in stemming the tides of human trafficking in Nigeria. You would recall that in 2009, NAPTIP developed a Four-Year National Action Plan (NAP) on Trafficking in Persons (2009-2012). That became a collaborative framework that set the benchmarks for interventions by all stakeholders in Nigeria on the concurrent duty of combating human trafficking.
“The implementation of the first edition of the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking (2009-2012) provided the much-needed framework for a coordinated response to human trafficking in Nigeria among stakeholders which led to numerous achievements recorded by the Agency in the succeeding years. Some of the most visible milestones recorded was the landmark upgrading of Nigeria to Tier one status for three consecutive years in the US Department of States TIP ratings between 2009 – 2012.
“Your Excellencies may be aware that, upon the expiration of the timeframe of the NAP (2009 – 2012), there were a number of unsuccessful attempts to develop the next Action Plan until 2017, when NAPTIP and Stakeholders came together and commenced the process of appraising the implementation of the previous Action Plan. This first activity heralded the commencement of the development of the new National Action Plan (2022 – 2026) which we are presenting today.
“The report of the appraisal and the findings from the Baseline Assessment of the trafficking situation in Nigeria were presented to the stakeholders at the first Workshop held between 23 rd – 25 th November 2020. All relevant Ministries and Civil Society actors were represented in that Workshop and their contributions culminated in the drafting of the Strategic Framework for the development of the new National Plan of Action.
“A second Stakeholders Consultative Meeting was convened for the development of the zero draft of the National Action Plan between January 25th – 27th 2021. Subsequently, fieldwork was carried out in the five states of Kano, Benue, Delta, Edo, Lagos, and the FCT to receive contributions at the sub-national levels on the various thematic areas of the Action Plan. This activity took place between 3 rd and 27th October 2021 and it offered a window of opportunity for the gathering of inputs from a wider audience, which was later incorporated into this important national document. This was followed by the third Stakeholders Workshop from 2nd to 4 th November 2021 at Keffi, where the final draft was validated by the stakeholders.
“These three sub-technical meetings and the fieldwork exercise were aimed at ensuring the inputs of experts at the Strategic and operational levels before it was presented to the Federal Executive Council for approval. The document was approved on 23 rd February 2022 as a national blueprint for combating human trafficking in Nigeria. I must particularly acknowledge the active involvement of the Civil Society Organisations, ably led by the NACTAL President, Abdulganiyu Abubakar; who followed through in the entire process, and other Stakeholders here present.
“Your Excellencies and other invited guests, It would interest you to note that some levels of success have already been achieved from the Pilot phase of the implementation of the National Action Plan. One very promising milestone already recorded is the unprecedented model of cooperation in the execution of the Boot Camps Peer Review meetings for inaugurated State Task Forces members, which emanated from the testing phase of the NAP implementation. This promising practice brought about the harmonization of planning and efficient deployment of resources towards the execution and completion of the Boot Camp project in two phases in Abuja and Lagos respectively. The first phase took place in July 2022 where 9 State Task Forces participated and the second phase took place in September 2022 involving 12 states”, the Director General disclosed.
She called on all Partners and Stakeholders to collectively strive to achieve the all-around objectives of the plan.
There were goodwill messages from the Acting Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Prestage Murima, Country Representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, (UNODC) Oliver Stolpe, Team Head, Action Against Trafficking and Smuggling of Migrants (A-TIPSOM), Mr. Jose Nsang as well as representatives of MDAs and Sister Law Enforcement Agencies.
The attendant at the presentation coupled with the visible excitement on the faces of all participants presents a clear indication of the collective determination to stamp out human trafficking in Nigeria.