The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons and the Nigeria Immigration Service have pledged to improve their collaboration in order to wage a more effective war against human trafficking.
The two organisations made the pledge on Monday in Abuja when Muhammad Babandede, the Comptroller General of Immigration paid a courtesy visit to the NAPTIP Director General, Julie Okah-Donli.
Okah-Donli, while welcoming the NIS team, said that NIS was a key partner in tracking human trafficking and apprehending traffickers.
She said that NIS had also supported NAPTIP in the past by admitting its officials in the NIS training school in Kano.
Okah-Donli called for a seamless exchange of human trafficking information, joint operations and other areas of collaboration to effectively tackle human trafficking.
She said: “It is my pleasure to welcome the CG and his team to NAPTIP; the NIS has been a strong partner in tackling human trafficking and in apprehending traffickers.
“We have also had training of some of our operatives at the Immigration training school in Kano which has greatly improved on our work here.
“We should have a seamless exchange of human trafficking intelligence and we should undertake joint operations as these are important to dismantle trafficking syndicates.”
She called for greater Immigration assistance at the nation’s entry and exit points as well as more training assistance.
Babandede, the pioneer Director of Investigation at NAPTIP, said that the visit was a demonstration of the preparedness of the immigration service to work with the agency to curb human trafficking.
He described the visit as homecoming, adding that the anti-human trafficking agency was dear to his heart.
He said: “I was the pioneer director of investigation here in NAPTIP and this visit is like a homecoming for me.
“I am here to display a commitment that the Nigerian Immigration Service will work with NAPTIP to eradicate human trafficking.
“We are very key to the work of NAPTIP and if we work together traffickers will be in trouble.”
Babandede described NAPTIP as a complex agency which combines multiple roles of law enforcement, prosecution and care-giver amongst others.
He advised that the agency should strike a balance among its multiple roles to be able to record success in eradicating human trafficking.
Babandede said that it was important for NAPTIP not to claim credit for all successes recorded in the fight against human trafficking, but to also give credit to other agencies for the roles they play.
He said: “NAPTIP is a complex agency which plays the role of prosecution, law enforcement, caregiver, and many others. It is important to balance all these roles for better efficiency.
“Also, do not always claim credit, but give credit to other sister agencies for whatever roles they play in stopping human trafficking, rescuing victims or apprehending traffickers.”
The CG advised that both NAPTIP and the NIS should work toward merging investigation and prosecution by bridging the gap between the two.
He noted that the NIS had rolled out a new e-passport with 25 security features which would make it easier to track irregular migrants and human traffickers.
NAPTIP, he said, should not concentrate only on trafficking outside the country, noting that so many human trafficking activities were also taking place within Nigeria.