June 12, 2009

NAPTIP calls for witness protection law

By Isiaka Oyibo

Abuja — The National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and other related Matters (NAPTIP) has called for a comprehensive witness protection law that would encourage and guarantee adequate security for victims.

Mr Simon Egede, Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, made the call in Abuja, yesterday,   at a meeting of the Federal Justice Sector Reform Co-ordinating Committee.

“The areas that are of great concern to us are the issues of witness protection and assistance to victims of human trafficking.

“Most victims of human trafficking are not willing to come out to testify in the court against their traffickers for fear of reprisal attacks against them and their relations.

“A comprehensive witness protection law needs to be put in place in the country, which will encourage and guarantee adequate security for victims of crime who come forward to testify against their aggres-sors during court trials,” Egede said.

He urged the committee to live up to its expectation in compiling areas of the law that required reform and in initiating and advocating ways to reflect the amend-ments to existing laws without much problem.

Egede noted that the agency has a national policy on protection and assistance to trafficked persons, which was approved by the Federal Executive Council and adopted in Ghana, February 2009, by ECOWAS member-states.

He said the agency has prosecuted 54 traffickers successfully since inception, while 60 cases were still pending in courts across the country.

Mr. Christopher Gabriel, Secretary to the committee, said the committee has been saddled with the responsi-bility of providing, co-ordina-ting and translating reform agenda into specific activities.