Isaac Ombe, Yenagoa
The Zonal Coordinator of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons (NAPTIP), Barr. Nduka Nwanwenne, has declared that the criminal act of trafficking in persons for any purpose was a global problem and not restricted to Bayelsa or Nigeria alone.
Barr. Nwanwenne who was on a visit to the Bayelsa State chairman of the Gender Response Initiative Team( GRIT), Barr. Dise Ogbise, in Yenagoa, also disclosed that the agency had convicted over 500 offenders of human traffickers since it’s establishment by the Federal Government in 2004.
Nwanwenne who disclosed that upon its establishment in 2004, it had only one conviction and currently has over 500 convictions also described human trafficking as a global menace, saying it is not an isolated problem to Bayelsa or Nigeria, but a global problem.
Due to this phenomena , he stated that the need to collaborate with different stakeholders such as GRIT, security agencies, traditional and religious leaders arises.
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The Zonal Coordinator who is in charge of Bayelsa,Delta and Edo states, was accompanied on the visit by Bayelsa State Commander, Mrs. Abieyuwa Ehidenro, Head of Operation, Daniel Ibe and the PRO Wariebi Sambo, pointed out that building collaboration is enshrined in the law that established the agency.
While disclosing that Nigeria in 2003 signed to the transnational organised crime protocol, he
further pointed out that NAPTIP Agency is the Federal Government of Nigeria’s response to addressing the scourge of trafficking in persons, noting that NAPTIP is both an enforcement and welfare agency that enforce the law and also support victim to be reintegrated back into the society through capacity building.
The agency’s thematic areas, according to him , included Prevention, Protection, Prosecution and Participation,adding that his team would be delighted to collaborate with GRIT in these areas to ensure that traffic in persons is is minimised in the state as humans are priceless and not commodities that should be purchased and or resold.
While commending GRIT for promoting the rights of vulnerable groups and help survivor get justice in the state, Nwanwenne says he’s been following up with GRIT activities which are closely related to the mandate of NAPTIP.
He disclosed that the Bayelsa Task Force of NAPTIP would soon be inaugurated as the state committee will work to strengthen Sensitisation and awareness creation, arrest and provision of safe home stressing that his team would be delighted to collaborate with GRIT in these areas to ensure that traffic in persons is minimised in the state as humans are priceless and not commodities that should be purchased and or resold.
In her remarks, Barr. Ogbise, who informed that the GRIT was put together by the First Lady of the State, Dr. Mrs Gloria Diri and was inaugurated in September 2021 by the State Governor, Senator Douye Diri, assured of her team’s preparedness to collaborate with NAPTIP.
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She informed that cases of trafficking in person have been referred to the state office, partnered with the office in a road walk.
Barr. Ogbise decried women’s involvement in trafficking in persons and assured GRIT collaborate with NAPTIP to advocate for the establishment of a safe home in the state, which will strengthen enforcement and sure justice is served.
She stressed the need for inter-agency collaboration particularly with the police in handling cases of trafficking in person and also the need for capacity building with the police to understand the mandate of NAPTIP to effectively implement the law.
Inatimi Odio, Secretary of GRIT, in her remarks also assured of GRIT readiness to collaborate with NAPTIP in curbing organised crime.