Mrs. Julie Okah Donli, the Director General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) lamented the poor level of funding being released for the agency by the Federal Government.
Mrs. Julie also speaking on the 26 girls whose bodies were found in the Mediterranean Sea revealed that investigation is ongoing to know if the girls are victims of organs harvesting.
Speaking with SaharaReporters in an interview, the DG of NAPTIP, Mrs. Julie revealed that NAPTIP gets little financial assistance from the Federal Government and this hinders some of its operations. She said this also affects victims of trafficking the agency accommodates in shelters where NAPTIP rehabilitates victims of trafficking.
Mrs. Julie then disclosed that this made NAPTIP resort to seeking financial aid from international and private bodies
“Trafficking profile is very high, what we have so far is over 12,000 from inception, since 2004 till date and we have been able to rehabilitate over 6,000 as well. Funding as you know is very poor and this makes us partner with people. We have international agencies that come to our rescue and other private and public organizations as well, that support us from time to time.”
Commenting on the 26 girls whose bodies were found dead in the Mediterranean Sea, Mrs. Julie said that investigation is currently being handled by the Italian government and hoped United Nations would step in to halt killings on the Mediterranean Sea.
She, however, revealed that the murdered girls could be victims of organ harvesting as this is an act which is increasingly being perpetrated mostly on the sea against the wish of travelers.
“We are told that 26 of them were found dead and we are interested in knowing the cause of their death, through forensics. We also want to be sure they are not victims of organ harvesting, we want to know if their organs are intact, what happened to them, why they were killed when they were killed and who killed them," she said.
“We are hoping that the UN will carry an independent investigation into this matter because this is becoming a case too many,” she added.
The DG revealed that NAPTIP as an agency of the Federal Government is facing rivalry from some agencies within the federal parastatal that failed to recognize the existence of NAPTIP.
She noted that all trafficking cases are supposed to be transferred to NAPTIP for investigations and prosecutions but some agencies ignore this and handle cases related to trafficking on their own.
“Inter-agency rivalry is very common, some agencies arrest traffickers and instead of handing them over to NAPTIP, they to go on air announcing they have caught a trafficker and prosecuting the trafficker, refusing to refer the person to NAPTIP for us to prosecute and carry on with the investigation,” she said.
She lamented this act by these agencies saying it will lead to making NAPTIP dormant and not assist in generating accurate data concerning traffickers and those trafficked.
“That is a very bad case of rivalry because at the end of the day, the whole aim (of NAPTIP) is defeated. This is so because we need to have data and statistics stating how many traffickers were arrested and prosecuted and those rescued.”
She concluded by revealing that Nigerians fall victims of human trafficking on the reason that they tend to leave the country through illegal and irregular means. She also urged Nigerians to report anybody suspected to be human or sex trafficker or involved in trafficking to NAPTIP as this will help in saving lives.