Alex Enumah in Abuja
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has revealed plans to deploy some of its staff to embassies in the country as part of efforts at tackling the increase in human trafficking in the country.
To this end, the agency is planning to hold a meeting with the Attorney General of the Federation (AGF) and Minister of Justice, Abubakar Malami (SAN), to get the federal governmentâ€™s approval and support.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, who made the disclosure Monday at a roundtable meeting of critical stakeholders in Abuja, called on all Nigerians to work with a common purpose in the fight against human trafficking.
Okah-Donli further disclosed her plans to meet with the leadership of the National Assembly on the need to increase the budgetary allocation for the agency, expressing belief that if Nigeria must make any remarkable progress in prosecuting the anti trafficking war, the country should not be depending so much on foreign support.
The DG described as worrisome the increasing number of Nigerians who risk their lives trying to cross the Sahara Desert and Mediterranean Sea in search of greener pasture.
According to Okah-Donli between January and July, 2017, an estimated number of 103,175 migrants were said to have arrived in Europe through the Mediterranean, with 2, 357 deaths recorded, while a significant number of them were Nigerians.
Also between 2011 and 2016, the DG stated that more than 630,000 irregular migrants and refuges were rescued or disembarked in Italy, while another 13, 000 were estimated to have died crossing the Mediterranean.
However, efforts of the agency is beginning to yield fruitful results following the graduation of two of the victims of human trafficking who were assisted by the Real Woman Foundation.
While one of them came out with a second class upper division degree in Accounting from the Redeemerâ€™s University (RUN), the other graduated from the National Open University of Nigeria.
Okah-Donli said in the next few weeks, the agency would finalise work on the review of the National Policy on Protection and Assistance to trafficked persons in Nigeria, the NAPTIP strategic plan and the National plan of action against trafficking in persons.
According to the DG, the documents, along with the guidelines on National Referral Mechanism and the guidelines for the protection of children in formal care, will form the basis of the collaboration between the agency and its partners going forward.