The Director-General of the National Agency For The Prohibition of Trafficking In Persons(NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli has said that the agency had rescued over 12,000, rehabilitated 6000 victims and secured 325 convictions.
Okah-Donli stated this on Wednesday in Abuja when she paid a courtesy visit on Senior Special Assistance to the President on Foreign Affairs and Diaspora, Mrs Abike Dabiri-Erewa
“From inception from 2003 till date, NAPTIP has rescued over 12, 000, rehabilitated over 6000 victims, convicted 325 persons to date
“Right now we still have a number of cases in court we still hope to have some number of convictions before the end of the year,” she said.
The DG also called on the destination countries to prosecute and convict their nationals who indulged in aiding and abetting trafficking in Europe.
“The biggest challenge to me has been the refusal of the destination countries to prosecute their own gangs, not being able to confiscate the assets and freeze the accounts of the criminal gangs that are based in their country.
“Most of the time we get the agents, not the big traffickers when you are talking about trafficking in a European country, the culprits are the nationals of the destination countries.
“Nigerians are just the agents, they just help get these girls for little stipends, it is the big traffickers who made the demand for these victims.
“If we cannot get the gangs of the destination countries prosecuted and convicted we are just wasting our time,” she said.
She, therefore, advocated that all the assets of the criminals that have been operating in Europe all these years be confiscated and have the proceeds repatriated to Nigeria.
She maintained that their bank accounts needed to be frozen stressing that the traffickers could only be halted “when you hit them where they will feel the pains”.
The D.G also sought the cooperation of government at all levels to halt this trend by taking actions that would reduce the vulnerability of people to being trafficked out.
Dabiri-Erewa who commended the passion of the DG to the job which she said was about saving lives stressed that her office was ready to partner with NAPTIP to succeed.
“For me, it would be a great delight to partner with you because we are dealing with a serious problem, we are dealing with victim, not criminals because most of the victims are being tricked.
“I look forward to working with you to address the situation which is getting more worrisome, more dangerous and we need to save our youth from this,” she said
According to her there is need for NAPTIP to have desks in every embassy especially prone area where there are victims of trafficking.
“We need to appeal to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to assist in this area to have a mandate desk.
“It is important to have representative of NAPTIP in these embassies to have immediate result. We need to be demanding the destination countries that they have to prosecute their own gangs,” she said
Dabiri-Erewa appealed to parents to watch out for their children and discourage them from venturing into prostitution or seeking for greener pasture where it does not exist.
She said that the present administration was doing a lot to create jobs and ensure that youths are adequately taken care of
“IPOB is being sponsored by those I will call the Coalition of the politically disgruntled and the treasury looters. They believe that by sponsoring this group to destabilize the country and trigger chaos, they will realize their ambition of escaping justice and then be free to dip their hands into the nation’s treasury again.”
-Lai Mohammed(Nigeria’s Information Minister on IPOB)
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