The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) has commended the Nigerian government for standing firm against human trafficking in the country.
Mr Oliver Stolpe, UNODC Country Representative to Nigeria, gave the commendation at a stakeholder workshop for the development of a `National Plan of Action on Human Trafficking in Nigeria 2021 to 2025’, project.
He said that the country had taken some necessary steps in recent years to prevent trafficking in persons, raise awareness on crimes around the Nigeria, and protection of victims identified both in Nigeria and abroad.
Stolpe particularly congratulated the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, for her recent appointment into the UNODC board of Fund for Trafficking in Persons.
According to her, such appointment serves as an acknowledgment of NAPTIP leadership in the fight against trafficking, in Nigeria and beyond.
He, however, called for more efforts from the Nigerian government in spite of the achievements recorded, to enhance the criminal justice response to the issue of trafficking in persons which remained a high profit, low risk crime between 2017 and 2019.
“NAPTIP detected 4, 215 victims of trafficking in persons in the country but the number of convictions remains comparatively low at 101.
“The development of a new national action plan provides us all with an opportunity to identify and address the current challenges in effectively preventing and combatting human trafficking in Nigeria, while ensuring the rights and protection of victims.
“The action plan must be built on successes, lessons learned, and challenges identified in the development and implementation of previous plans.
“Moreover, a strong Monitoring and Evaluation framework is key to the successful implementation and must be fully integrated in the new plan,’’ he pleaded.
Mr Manuel Muhlebach, a Migration Adviser, from the Switzerland Embassy in Nigeria, noted that trafficking in persons had been a major cause of human insecurity, as it affects the lives of migrants in the most negative ways.
He said that the menace had contributed to the state of fragility by undermining government authority and capabilities.
According to him, `from Switzerland’s perspective, the fight against human trafficking is a key area of intervention to increase human security and that the fight against the menace and the protection of vulnerable migrants constitute important areas of cooperation between Nigeria and Switzerland.
Muhlebach, therefore, called on Nigerian government for inclusion of stakeholders in human trafficking policy development , noting that they play a crucial role for this national development endeavour.
“In line with our foreign migration policy, as well as our own national action plan against human trafficking, Switzerland remains committed to engaging in the fight against human trafficking and to working closely with the Nigerian authorities,’’ he said.
Mrs Mojisola Shodeinde, Head of Office, International Centre for Migration Policy Development (ICMPD), thanked NAPTIP for putting efforts in the fight against trafficking, promising that her organization would continue to work and partner with the agency.
NAPTIP DG, Okah-Donli, noted that the numerous achievements recorded by the agency was due to the 2009 to 2012 National Plan of Action, as it provided the much needed framework for a coordinated response to human trafficking.
According to her, the successes would have been impossible without the cooperation of stakeholders, including Ministries, Department and Agencies (MDAs) both at the Federal and State levels, as well as donors.
She thanked President Muhammadu Buhari, Minister of Humanitarian Affair and Social Development, Hajia Sadiya-Umar Farouq, Attorney General of the Federation, Abubakar Malami, for their immense support at providing legislations to guide NAPTIP.
She said that baseline assessment of human trafficking in Nigeria had been carried out as part of activities towards the development of the new National Plan of Action (NPA).
Okah-Donli said after the validation of the final draft of the NPA 2021 to 2025, the document will be presented to the Federal Executive Council (FEC) for approval, as a national policy document that will become a blueprint for all human trafficking interventions in Nigeria. (NAN)
– Nov. 23, 2020 @ 15:15 GMT |