By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
The Director General, National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi has
decried the rise in human trafficking, domestic violence, organ sales and other related offences in Nigeria.
This is even as she blamed the harsh economic situation on the African continent especially in Nigeria on the issues of poverty, lack of educational opportunities, job opportunities and greed for the rise in human trafficking being witnessed in the country.
Dr. Waziri-Azi stated this while
briefing State House Correspondents on
key updates in the strides being made by the Agency in the arrest and prosecution of individuals involved in human trafficking, domestic violence and other related offences in Nigeria held at the State House Press Gallery, Presidential Villa, Abuja.
According to her, the truth is, when you talk about migration, it’s part and parcel of Africa and Africans, adding that because of the economic situation, people tend to move alot in Africa.
Said she: “In my presentation, I talked about socio- economic situations that NAPTIP does not have control over.
And that has to do with issues of poverty, lack of educational opportunities, job opportunities, and also greed, you know, greed, people saying, oh, I want to go look for greener pastures, forgetting that the grass is only as green as you as you water it. So these are factors that we don’t have control over”.
The NAPTIP boss insists that the above mentioned issues are the root causes of trafficking in persons as well as smuggling of migrants.
Said she: “There is a report that was released by one of the United Nation (UN) agencies in the black market, a kidney goes for over 250,000 US dollars. So it is a thriving business”.
“And there is an entire value chain that has to do with organ trafficking. So you have recruiters, you have brokers. Recruiters are the ones that that target vulnerable communities. So you go to probably a rural area, and you target four people, then you have brokers, then you have medical personnel, you have medical institutions. So it’s an entire value chain. So that’s one part of it”.
Speaking further in a questions and answer session, Dr Waziri-Azi said the surge in internal trafficking.
Asked about external trafficking and what is being done NAPTIP, Dr. Waziri-Azi said: “Yes, we have a surge in internal trafficking. And like I said, in my presentation, most times, we spotlight issues on external trafficking”.
“But I know, the data we had in NAPTIP, say three years old data now, the percentage was 75% across the state trafficking going on in Nigeria, then 23% within the states, then 2% across the borders, but of course, these are moving data each year, you get something new, and you said what is missing”.
On the Sex Offenders Register, the NAPTIP boss said: “In 2019, the sex offenders register was launched by the Government of Nigeria, and it is domiciled in NAPTIP”
“So basically, it’s just a tool and mechanism for naming and shaming perpetrators. So right now we have about 650 reported cases, right now uploaded, so it is accessible to the public, but only those the convictions that are accessible to the public”.
“And people now write to us, they contact us when they want to do background checks, especially if you’re hiring a domestic staff. You don’t want to hire a pedophile or someone who has a rape history. So people write to us to do background checks on people, even schools right now. They also write to us to do background checks on potential teachers”.
“So yeah, the sex offenders register is still there. We are still collaborating with service providers, we are collaborating with NGOs, with CSOs and states and about seven states have also synchronized their sex offenders register to the National Sex Offenders database”.
“So it’s growing I think that one is only for FCT right because if you add the states it should be more. Yes, it’s for all the states so yeah. It takes us 24 hours to conduct a background check if we have enough data. Because the system is digitized.
It’s what we don’t have on the data that we check. If your name is not on the data? Absolutely. We say your name is not on our data”.