National News Aug 15, 2010
By Simon Ebegbulem
BENIN CITY — THE authorities of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons, NAPTIP, have concluded plans to prosecute three Nigerians who were recently arrested by Marine police in Akwa Ibom State, while attempting to traffic 55 citizens of Benin Republic, Burkina Faso and Togo to Gabon, to Europe for prostitution.
Besides, the agency disclosed that it had successfully prosecuted 85 persons allegedly involved in human trafficking since its establishment in 2003. This was disclosed by the Executive Secretary of the agency, Mr. Chuzi Egede, at a two-day workshop on the Dissemination of the National Policy on Protection and Assistance to Trafficked Persons in Nigeria, weekend in Benin City.
According to him, the 55 victims have since been re-united with their families through their various embassies. He added that the agency had achieved 100 per cent in the prosecution of arrested persons involved in human trafficking.
“Only two weeks ago, we received about 55 victims who were rescued from the high sea by the marine police in Akwa Ibom State and we have since re-united them with their families.
“All of them were from neighbouring countries of Togo, Benin, Burkina Faso and the likes and through their embassies, we have been able to take them to their countries and the three Nigerians who were trafficking them to Gabon are in our custody and very soon, we will commence their prosecution in our law courts.”
He added that: “Out of these numbers that have passed through our shelters, we have been able to rehabilitate, empower not less than 800 and it is a continuing process”.
He said the agency has already convicted 20 persons as at July this year adding that “all traffickers that are apprehended are prosecuted in court and we have had 100 per cent success in prosecution that is to say no trafficker has gone free after being apprehended by us.”
Earlier in her address, the Director, Counseling and Rehabilitation, Lilly Oguejiofor explained that the National Policy on Protection and Assistance to Trafficked Persons in Nigeria had even been adopted by other countries in West Africa for use in the rehabilitation of trafficked persons within the sub_region.
She said the workshop was part of programmes to embark on a nationwide dissemination of the document. In his goodwill message, the Chief Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM) Martin Ocaga, said the IOM decided to worked with the NAPTIP because of its confidence in NAPTIP philosophy on human trafficking .
He also commended the Canadian International Development Agency for supporting the health chapter of the policy.