The Acting Director of Trafficking In Persons (TIP)’s office, Washington, in United States of America, Ms Kari JohnStone, has pledged to support the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) to deliver its mandate effectively.
JohnStone made the promise when she paid a courtesy call on the Director-General of NAPTIP, Ms Julie Okah-Donli, on Friday in Abuja.
She explained that her agency would work in collaboration with NAPTIP to improve its effectiveness as a model of specialised crime fighting agency in Africa.
She said that she was very pleased on the number of conviction the agency secured since its inception which was pegged at 331 as at September 2017.
According to her, such feat is laudable bearing in mind the series of technicalities associated with prosecution of cases such as human trafficking.
The acting director, during an interactive section with the staffers of the agency expressed satisfaction in the areas of Policy formulation, Prevention, Partnership, Prosecution and Protection of victims of human trafficking.
She stated that the Trafficking In Persons’ report where the country was rated low, was not an appraisal of activities of NAPTIP, rather an aggregate assessment of responses by other parties including the government of Nigeria on issues of human trafficking.
According to her, other variable that constituted the assessment include the controversial issues of child soldiers in the North as well as the situation in the Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camps in the some parts of the country.
The visiting U.S. Official disclosed that the U.S. Trafficking in Persons Report is not an indictment on NAPTIP rather to spur policy makers, government and non-governmental actors to accord NAPTIP the desired attention.
She added that focus should be on the areas of policy implementation and improved budgetary allocation to the agency in order to scale up its performance.
She expressed satisfaction with the provisions of the re-enacted 2015 Trafficking in Persons Prohibition Enforcement Act which made provision for compensation for victims of human trafficking as well as stringent punishment for convicted offenders.
JohnStone said that the United States will consider possible assistance to the agency in the areas of awareness creation, capacity development of Officers of the NAPTIP as well as other operational needs.
The U.S. official noted that she was in Nigeria to have first-hand information on issues of human trafficking part of which forms the said TIP reports.
Responding, Mr Arinze Orakwe, Director, Public Enlightenment, who received the guest on behalf of the director-general, thanked the official for the visit and advocated that NAPTIP should be rated only on those issues concerning human trafficking.
Orakwe explained that it was unfair for his agency to be rated on activities in other areas which require attention of other arms or agencies of government, adding that the agency has remained a unique model not only to the African region, but the entire world in the area of combating human trafficking.
He enjoined the United States and other international partners to produce a policy that would ensure that other neighbouring countries increase surveillance in form of security checks along the controversial migrating routes especially within the North Africa countries.
According to him, this will help to complement the efforts of Nigeria in combating human trafficking and reduce the associated tragedies. (NAN)