……urges airlines, FAAN to infuse counter – trafficking messages at strategic points at major airports
…… FAAN pledges support
The Director General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) Dame Julie Okah – Donli says any security officer at the nation’s airports found to aid human trafficking will not be spared no matter the level or rank.
She urged officers who perhaps have been involved in such evil activity to join hands with the agency to stop the menace.
This just as she disclosed that a Sex offenders register in Nigeria is being proposed and if launched the concept will be aimed at naming and shaming sex offenders in the country.
The NAPTIP helmsman who gave the warning at the handover of information, education and communication (IEC ) materials to FAAN at the Murtala Mohammed International Airport, said any officer found in connivance with traffickers would be arrested and prosecuted to serve as a deterrent to other officers that the agency’s mandate to reduce human trafficking was child’s play.
“Certainly, this heart rending narrative must be radically changed in order to protect the future of the nation.”
She said the materials given to FAAN was geared towards stepping up their sensitization of aviation stakeholders especially the passengers to increase vigilance and positive actions to intercept or interrupt suspected human trafficking activities as well as infuse counter – trafficking messages at conspicuous areas at major airports.
Donli said the challenges of human trafficking and illegal migration had become quite enormous that it required new initiatives, which must be developed to ensure sustained successes against the twin monsters.
The NAPTIP boss appealed to airlines and the airport manager to display counter – trafficking messages at the check – in and boarding areas as well as along boarding gates.
She particularly called on airlines to ensure they have such messages as part of the in-flight audio and visual communications.
Part of the materials NAPTIP handed over to FAAN include 70 roll on banners and 30 wall banners, which she said would step up sensitization against the twin scourge of human trafficking and illegal migration.
Donli while calling for collaboration among government and other agencies at major airports and land borders urged them to report any suspected official or persons aiding and abetting human trafficking and illegal migration
She said the interface with FAAN and other players in the aviation sector had become imperative in curbing the menace of human trafficking in Nigeria.
Donli said : ” In the last few years, there have been reports of large numbers of Nigerians trapped in sexual and labour exploitation in North Africa, especially Libya, Asia and European countries, apart from the hundreds that continue to die in Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea.
The NAPTIP boss while calling for the support of various actors across board to achieve its mandate said till date over 204 traffickers have been convicted and are serving various jail terms.
“17,000 victims have been rescued and counseled with a good number empowered by the agency from primary schools to university level who is now officers of NAPTIP”.
The programme was put together with support from NAPTIP partners including: the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC), United States Department of State/ International Narcotics and Enforcement, International Air Transport Association (IATA) and NCAA.
Country Director, United States Government, International Narcotics and Law Enforcement, James Jewett commended partners who contributed to the implementation of the project, which costs about $400, 000.
“A grant of over $400,000 was awarded to implement this very important project. The objective of this project is to enforce and enhance state and non-state sectoral responses toward combating trafficking in persons in Nigeria”.
Also speaking, Country Manager, UNODC, Abimbola Adewunmi said the body was excited to support Nigerian government in tacking the scourge of human trafficking and illegal migration.
“When they see this banner they would reflect and also can reexamine the journey and think twice and say, Is it safe for me to go, it also shows that the Nigerian government is also putting trust in the law enforcement agencies at the airports”.
In his remarks, Managing Director, FAAN, Captain Hamisu Yadudu said the partnership with NAPTIP will assist in fighting the scourge of human trafficking and assist in passenger facilitation.
NAPTIP then signed an agreement with the Federal Airports Authority of Nigeria (FAAN), Nigerian Civil Aviation Authority (NCAA) and other aviation authorities on new initiatives to tackle challenges of human trafficking and illegal migration through the airports and land borders.
“The NAPTIP DG has leaved up to her words that Partnership and synergy between NAPTIP and FAAN will improve from strength to strength and that she will ensure that our airports are equally assisted by NAPTIP in whatever means and capacity. Thank God, today, this is the first phase among the things we are expecting from NAPTIP, let me just promise you that we shall……”.