The new zonal commander of National Agency for the Prohibition of Human Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), MrNduka Nnanwenne has said that the agency has recorded over 500 convictions since the first conviction in 2004.
Barrister Nnanwenne disclosed this at a stakeholder meeting of the Countering Serious Organised Crime (SOC-PREVENT) project of the Africa Network for Environment and Economic Justice (ANEEJ) and Torchlight, United Kingdom being supported by Home Office which held at the corporate office of ANEEJ in Benin City.
While assuring the SOC-Prevent team that NAPTIP would be a partner of the project, Mr Nduka Nnanwenne further disclosed that the Federal Executive Council last week approved a four year National Action Plan for the agency which will focus on awareness creation on the dangers of human trafficking for both the traffickers and the trafficked, noting that the NAP fits perfectly into the SOC-PREVENT project assuring of the agency’s preparedness to work with ANEEJ and other CSOs in the state to achieve greater results.
“We would do our best to support the project,” Nnanwenneassured. Welcoming stakeholders earlier, the executive director of ANEEJ, Rev David Ugolor said in the past weeks the project team hasbeen visiting some key stakeholders, including the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, his deputy, Comrade Philip Shaibu, and secretary to the Edo State government MrOsarodion Ogie.
“We were there with Prof. Olu Ogunsakin; Policy Advisor under the technical team, Mr. Bob Arnot; project director, Matilda Martins; Project Lead, David Otto; Edo State Project Coordinator, Sandra Eguagie and the Filed Officer II, Erhisohwode Assurance Ovie. The State governor gave the project team a warm welcome.”
Ugolor who noted that the project team had earlier visited the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, Ministry of Justice, NAPTIP, Edo State commissioner of police and other stakeholders said that the purpose of the visits was “to introduce the countering Serious Organized Crimes (SOC-Prevent) project to the governor who is the State actor, get his buy-in to provide political support and advice required to successfully implement the SOC-Prevent project in Edo State, adding that support for the project has been massive.
The ANEEJ helmsman said the project will be focusing on human trafficking and Cybercrime at this inception phase which spans January-March 2022 focusing on two communities in two local government areas, Oredo and Ikpoba-Okha in the state in collaboration with relevant stakeholders.
The project director, Matilda Martins, stated that the project is designed to be community-owned and will run for 3years in the four selected states (Bayelsa, Edo, Lagos and Zamfara).
“It is an exciting programme and you need to own it as critical stakeholders.”
Project Policy Advisor, Mr. Bob Arnot said the project is drawing from some lessons in what works in the UK, on problems of drugs and other SOCs with a view to finding common grounds of dealing with similar problems in Nigeria using local approaches that can work, noting that the project was for the people of Edo State and all stakeholders in the meeting were very important to the delivery of the project and sued for their active participation.
Lending his voice to the issue of ownership, Project Advisor, Prof. Ogunsakin said “ownership rests on the people of Edo State. We’ve not come here with an idea to say this is how it should be done,” and harped on the need to target young people with the project.
Representative of the Edo State Ministry of Justice, Mrs.Idienumah Precious Titilayo, a senior state counsel assured of the preparedness of the Ministry of Justice dwelt on the need for stakeholders in the justice sector to adopt proactive, rather than reactionary measures in dealing with Serious Organised Crime as according to her, the appetite of young persons towards SOCs is worsening by the day as most of them subscribe to the “school na scam” cliche. “We are really on board for this project as cybercrime has metamorphosed into the use of voodoo powers for ritual killings and other dangerous dimensions of the challenge,” Idienumah said.
Countering SOC-Project Lead for Nigeria, Mr. David Otto called on stakeholders for the project to generate data on level of cultism, cybercrime, human trafficking, to inform data-driven advocacy. “We need data from EFCC, NAPTIP, MOJ to inform advocacy work of ANEEJ in Edo and Bayelsa States,” Otto emphasised.
High point was presentation of an overview of the project by the Edo State Coordinator, Ms. Sandra Eguagie. Comments, Questions and answers followed her presentation.