*IUNODC, IOM, and others renew calls for the implementation of policies
To counter the growing menace of Trafficking in Persons, (TIP), especially among young Nigerians in search of better living abroad, the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), has presented a new National Action Plan, (NAP), 2022-2026.
Presenting the plan before partner organisations for appraisal and further adoption, the Director General, (DG), of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi, said the plan is a national blueprint for the coordination of Nigeria’s counter-trafficking efforts in the next five years as the agency and it’s international partners as well as partner Ministries, Departments and Agencies, (MDAs), work together for the effective realisation of set targets.
She said the document which comes ten years after the first edition of the NAP, 2009-2012, elapsed, will play a strong role in challenging the ill of human trafficking and in strengthening the justice system in Nigeria.
“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, the 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 and 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.
Waziri-Azi pointed out that “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.”
She noted that a major achievement by the agency recently is the increasing number of convictions of suspects to 53 in 2022 alone, the largest ever cattained on a year-on basis by NAPTIP. out of 546 convictions since its establishment.
“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,” she adds.
Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development, Saiya Farouq, said the government adopted a multi-sectoral response strategy and an all-inclusive approach to strengthening the policy framework and response to Human Trafficking by designing its first National Action Plan (NAP) on Human Trafficking in Nigeria.
Represented by the Mr Charles Anielo, a deputy director in the ministry, she said “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.”
The country representative of the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crimes, (UNODC), Oliver Stolpe, urged Nigeria to strengthen efforts at closing enforcement gaps which he said has continued to allow trafficking to thrive.
“UNODC has followed the process of development of the plan but what follows will make the difference in the implementation. We will align our plans with the NAP subject to follow the guide for key areas of interventions,” he said.
Representative of the National Commission for Refugees, Migration and Internally Displaced Persons, (NCARMI), ambassador Catherine Udida, noted efforts by the government to tackle the menace of TIP will surely yield results toward eradicating or reducing human trafficking to the barest minimum.
She said the refugees’ commission will continue to partner with NAPTIP in an effort to protect Nigerians from trafficking rings bent on exploiting them.
Also lending support to the NAP, was the acting Chief of the Mission of the International Organisation for Migration, (IOM), Murima Prestige, a representative of the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies, ( FIIAP), Jose Nsang, among others.