The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, NAPTIP, and Nigeria Immigration Service, NIS, have partnered with the European Union, EU, the International Organisation for Migration, IOM, and United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, UNODC, on how to combat illegal migration and human trafficking in the country.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Julie Okah-Donli, represented by the Director Research/ Programme Development, Godwin Mouka, said there was no better time than now for the country to wake up and combat illegal migration.
This, Ms. Okah-Donli said, was vital especially with the growing increase of Nigerians illegally travelling abroad through illegal channels.
She said the Act prohibiting illegal migration /traffic in persons had really assisted the agency in carrying out its professional responsibilities of fighting illegal migration and trafficking in the country.
She said the Act had also enabled the agency to prosecute traffickers as well as assist trafficking victims.
The director general said the partnership with foreign organisations had really improved the services of the agency, especially in the area of prosecution.
She said the agency had been able to embark on public enlightenment campaign, especially in the rural areas urging people to desist from such act as it was punishable by law.
Ms. Okah-Donli said to enable the agency to carry out its professional responsibilities, it had embarked on training and retraining of personnel for effective and efficient service delivery.
She said NAPTIP was ever ready to synergise and cooperate with relevant agencies in the discharge of its duties, especially because of the challenge trafficking/ illegal migration posed.
The Officer-in-charge, UN Office on Drugs and Crime, Elisabeth Bayer, said the office was partnering with NAPTIP and NIS to assist the country in combating the menace.
Mrs. Bayer also commended Nigeria for establishing an Act prohibiting human trafficking and illegal migration in the country.
Also, the Deputy Head of EU to Nigeria/ECOWAS, Richard Young , said the organisation was in partnership with NAPTIP and NIS to remove the ugly side of illegal migration in Nigeria.
Mr. Young said that the task of the EU was to minimise the risk involved and the implications of human trafficking and illegal migration.
He promised to continue to assist Nigeria where and when necessary in its quest to combat the menace that was on the increase.
The Comptroller-General of NIS, Muhammad Babandede, who was represented by Justina Tekkune, Deputy Comptroller Immigration (DCI), said the partnership was timely and a good thing to happen to Nigeria.
Mr. Babandede also commended the international organisations for their efforts at making sure that Nigeria overcomes the challenges of human trafficking and illegal migration.
He promised to sustain the relationship for the good of the service and the country.
The Head of Missions, IOM, Charles Harns, commended Nigeria for being proactive in combating the challenge human trafficking and illegal migration posed to the country in recent times.
“I have no doubt in my mind that the partnership will go a long way in reducing human trafficking and illegal migration in the country,” Mr. Harns said.