The federal government has extended the whistle blowing policy to crimes in trafficking in persons in Nigeria, a move that is believed would encourage people with useful information on activities of suspected traffickers come forward.
The extension was sequel to a request by the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, who had applied to the federal government to extend the policy to issues of human trafficking to encourage people report cases of trafficking in persons and provide information on assets of traffickers to the agency without fear of reprisals.
According to a release signed by Vincent Adeloye on behalf of NAPTIP’s Head of Press and Public Relations, the approval of the agency’s application was conveyed by the Hon. Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami (SAN) in a letter dated August 7, 2017 and signed by the Director (Solicitors Department) Z. S Adeyanju,
In the statement, Adeyanju stated that the approval was given based on the fact that the request by NAPTIP for the inclusion of Human Trafficking cases in the whistle blowing policy of the present administration was not in conflict with any extant law.
Reacting, the Director- General expressed excitement stating that with the approval, the coast has become clearer for informants to come up with verifiable information on human traffickers adding that all information given to the agency will be treated with all required confidentiality.
While encouraging members of the public to step forward with information, she added that the Agency was working out modalities for reward to informants. She however, appealed that people should not use the policy for vendetta as the agency will not take kindly such practices.
She also expressed appreciation to the federal government for granting the request within a very short time, adding that such a gesture was an indication of the present administration’s readiness to end human trafficking in Nigeria.
With the latest development, anybody can now give verifiable information on any case of human trafficking including assets of human traffickers for possible confiscation through legal proceedings to NAPTIP.
Meanwhile, as part of the ongoing repositioning of the agency for better service delivery, Okah-Donli, has set up a Rapid Response Squad (NAPTIP-RRS).
The squad, which is under her direct supervision is to among other things, ensure that all high profile and sensitive cases reported to the agency are given prompt attention and investigated with diligence.
This action is in line with her earlier promise on assumption of office to set in motion machineries for diligent operations especially in the areas of investigation, victims care and prosecution.
Part of the terms of reference of the NAPTIP-RRS is to carry out in an urgent manner all sensitive assignments and operations as may be directed by the Director-General.
Inaugurating the Squad, Okah-Donli, reminded members that the task before them was not an easy one, but promised to give them all necessary support including the provision of modern investigation tools to aid their operations.
She admonished them to remain upright, factual and work in line with international good practices in law enforcement.
She warned that she will not tolerate any indolence or sloppiness in their operations and urged them to be swift in their activities as any undue delay in any rescue operation may spell doom for any victim and the family.
“You must work with all the departments of the Agency in your assignment. Do not see any case as a small one because there is nothing like a small case before the law and in the case of human trafficking, lives are involved. While the public enlightenment officers are working round the clock creating awareness across the country, you must ensure that those who refuse to adhere to our appeal to end trafficking are brought to justice. The Legal and Prosecution Department is set to use the outcome of your operations to prosecute offenders,’’ she stressed.