ABUJA â€” The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and other Related Matters, NAPTIP, has confirmed that the Egyptian girl married to Senator Sani Yerima was actually born in January 1996.
Also, Nigeria has now fully complied with the minimum standard for the elimination of human trafficking. This was contained in the 2010 Global Trafficking in Persons report released by the United States Secretary of State, Mrs. Hillary Clinton, on Monday.
Briefing newsmen yesterday in Abuja, Executive Secretary of NAPTIP, Mr Simon Egede, said: â€œWe have concluded investigation into the controversial marriage of Senator Ahmed Yerima to a 13-year-old girl.
â€œThe information got from the Controller General of Immigration showed that the said girl was born in January, 1996.
â€œYerima will be in our office on Thursday to answer more questions and the outcome of our meeting with him will determine when he will be charged to court because we will leave no stone unturned in this matter.
â€œWe have all the necessary information about the girl-wife, the party that accompanied her from Egypt to Nigeria and her actual age and we will not hesitate to act based on the information we have at hand,â€ the NAPTIP boss said.
The report also stated that Nigeria had demonstrated sustained progress to combat the scourge with strong commitments by US government to raise awareness of the problem.
â€œThe objective of the report is actually meant to grow partnership geared towards the elimination of the scourge of human trafficking in the world,â€ said Hillary Clinton.
Egede said countries were assessed based on standards set in the protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons.
He also said the standards had been expanded by his agency to include rehabilitation and reintegration of victims back into the society.
His words: â€œIn the annual report, countries are rated and assigned according to tiers one to three depending on the degree of compliance to the minimum standards for the elimination of human trafficking. The tier one status which was also secured last year, barely at my hundred days in office has been sustained within the period of the report.
â€œGiven this effort, we are renewing our call for government, stakeholders and international organisations, destination countries to gird their loins for greater battle. These moments call for fresh initiative and breathe into our arsenals, rather than relent on our oars.
â€œWe must inject more strength, determination and commitment to pursue and achieve the elimination of those factors that predispose and enhance trafficking of Nigerians out of the shores of the country while we internally promote a protective environment.â€
He explained that though Nigeria has retained tier one position, the elevation has not freed the country from the stranglehold of criminal syndicates who will want to continue with their crime.
The NAPTIP Boss who admitted thatÂ many Nigerians still indulge in different forms of human trafficking and child labour said â€œNAPTIPÂ has convicted sixteen (16) traffickers this year while about ninety (90) suspected traffickers are still in the courtâ€.