Seeks global partnership to tackle human trafficking
By Joseph Erunke
ABUJA–THE National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons,NAPTIP, has commenced the prosecution of a Spain based Nigerian, Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia,who is notorious in the trafficking of Nigerian young women from Nigeria to Spain.
Two of the gang members of the notorious trafficker,who is also known as Mama Bobby and Audu Mariam Olayemi,are currently in detention in Spain.
Patricia Igbinovia whom operatives of the Agency have been on her trail for a long time was recently arrested in a sting operation in Lagos when she sneaked into the country.
A statement to this effect,Thursday,by NAPTIP Press Officer,Adekoye Vincent,said,”The suspect has also been arraigned before Honourable Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos.
” She has also been remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service while the matter is adjourned to 17th January 2022 for commencement of trial,”the statement read.
The statement said the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi disclosed this at a Virtual meeting, tagged:”The Conversation with NAPTIP”,with stakeholders and partners of the agency to mark her first 100 days as Director-General of NAPTIP.
She stated that the prosecution is being supported by the British and Spanish authorities through the Mutual Legal Assistance between Nigeria and the other two countries.
‘’ This is the first time NAPTIP would be prosecuting a case where evidence from another country transmitted to Nigeria through Mutual Legal Assistance, is used to arrest the target and case filed in court’’, she added.
“This case is coming just as the agency has also commenced the prosecution of an official of a Law Enforcement Agency involved in the trafficking of young persons to other countries,”the statement noted.
According to the Director-General, the ongoing prosecutions are in line with the Agency’s renewed strategy for enhanced prosecution of high–profile traffickers and cases of violence against persons in Nigeria.
Counting some of her modest milestones since she assumed office, she said “Since September, the Agency has received two hundred and twenty-four (224) cases, investigated thirty-nine (39), and one hundred and eighty-nine (189) suspects have been detained and interrogated.
“Two hundred and ninety-eight (298) victims have been rescued in partnership with other sister agencies, International Organizations, and NGOs.
A total number of 19 repatriations have been successful with the invaluable support of IOM, following intelligence reports received and we have about 15 joint intelligence operations currently ongoing. NAPTIP has secured six (6) convictions (Kano, Sokoto, Benin). Bringing the total number of convictions to 490’’.
Speaking further, she said, ” On assumption of office, I was crystal clear and deliberate about what I needed to do and where I want NAPTIP to be as an anti-human trafficking law enforcement Agency. And my approach is based on 4 strategic priorities (Enhanced conviction rate of High Profile Traffickers; evidence based and sustainable return and reintegration programs for victims of TIP & SOM; scaled age-appropriate awareness creation on the ills of TIP, especially at the sub-national level, in urban poor communities and rural areas and amongst the youths; and enhanced visibility of the work of the agency, its partners and reporting channels .
“These 4 strategic priorities plug into the 5-point overarching strategies of the Agency, which is Prosecution, Protection, Prevention, partnership and policy.
“With the support of IOM, FIIAPP, Italian embassy, UNODC and other partners, we have successfully completed several capacity building for NAPTIP prosecutors, intelligence officers and investigators”.
She however, pointed out that the only panacea to an effective fight against human trafficking across the globe is a sufficient response from stakeholders without borders, enough political will as well as unconditional collaboration and cooperation among State and Non- State Actors.