By Dirisu Yakubu
Director-General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli has blamed the deliberate hoarding of information on traffickers by endemic countries as one of the biggest challenges facing the agency in its determination to deliver on its mandate.
Okah-Donli stated this yesterday in an exclusive chat with Vanguard. Speaking on Transnational Organised Crime Convention and Trafficking in Persons Protocol, which Nigeria is a signatory; the DG lamented the non- cooperation of some countries in availing NAPTIP adequate information that would enable it to wage a successful war against the menace successfully.
She said, “NAPTIP over the years has partnered largely with a lot of international partners. Almost all the endemic countries partner with NAPTIP and it has been so far, so good in terms of assisting with technical support. Some of these foreign partners train staff of NAPTIP, and sometimes they donate equipment to us, operational vehicles, sponsor awareness campaigns and all of that but there is more to be done as regards the cooperation with Nigeria in terms of sharing information.
“They hardly share information but they get every information from us and we hardly hear of cases of prosecuting their own. It is always about the Nigerian traffickers who obviously cannot work alone without the collaboration of the foreign traffickers. They never share information and when we ask for information, they talk about data protection as if there is no data protection in Nigeria.
“And we do tell them that traffickers don’t have time to waste because time is of the essence and so information is very important. When you keep going around talking about data protection, I don’t know who they are protecting because, at the end of the day, the bottom line is to protect and care for the victims. So as long as sharing that information is not going to hurt the victims but would rather hurt the traffickers, I really don’t see what they are protecting.”
Continuing, Barrister Okah-Donli noted that such attitude does not help in the collective quest to root out the scourge of trafficking, “without sharing information, there is really not much we can do in terms of doing justice to traffickers who are in the destination countries because if for example, we fight the traffickers in Nigeria and they have a link in another country and that link is not broken, it only means that the destination country will look for another partner in crime in Nigeria to continue with the crime of trafficking.”