Alex Enumah in Abuja
The Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dame Julie Okah-Donli, has asked the Italian authorities to ensure that those involved in the deaths of the 26 Nigerian girls on the Mediterranean Sea recently are properly identified and prosecuted.
She also frowned at the haste with which the girls were buried without full disclosure of their proper identities and nationalities.
Okah-Donli expressed sadness that the remains of the girls were buried on November 17, 2017, just a day after Italian Embassy in Nigeria had communicated to her during a meeting with the ambassador and through an email that the remains would be buried on November 26, 2017.
The NAPTIP boss spoke in Italy at various engagements with officials of the Nigerian embassy in Italy, officials of some sister agencies and the Nigerian community in her attempt to unravel the mystery behind the recent deaths of Nigerian migrants at the Mediterranean Sea.
According to a statement issued by NAPTIPâ€™s Head of Press and Public Relations, Josiah Emerole, the DG stated this in her presentation at the International Conference on â€˜Women Empowerment and the Fight against Trafficking in Persons â€“ The Partnership between Italy and Nigeriaâ€™ organised by the President of the Italian Chamber of Deputies, Hon. Laura Boldrini.
The statement said Okah-Donli used the occasion to convey the anger and sadness of the Nigerian people over the news of the deaths of the young girls especially with the unavailability of their proper identities and how they died.
â€˜â€™We demand that those who are involved in the gruesome death of these girls be properly identified and prosecuted,â€ she said.
While disclosing that NAPTIP, through the courts, has convicted 334 traffickers, she challenged the Italians and other destination countries to equally show good faith by prosecuting their own nationals engaged in the obnoxious trade, adding that â€œif there is no buyer the trade will die off.â€
She also asked the Italians to always engage in full disclosure when their nationals are involved, adding that Italy should implement to the letter the Palermo Protocol especially with victimsâ€™ care and support rather than treat the victims especially those from Nigeria as criminals.