The International Organisation for Migration (IOM) has renewed its commitment to the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) in the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria.
This was made known by the newly appointed IOM Chief-of-Mission, Frantz Celestin, during his visit to the NAPTIP Headquarters in Abuja on Tuesday.
A statement by Nneka Aniagoh of Press and Public Relations Unit said Mr. Celestin, who came in the company of Saskia Kok and Elizabeth Poage, both from IOM, informed the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah- Donli, that the visit was part of his familiarization meetings with relevant partners and stakeholders tasked with curbing irregular migration and human trafficking in Nigeria.
The IOM Chief-of-mission, who said that IOM has facilitated the return of 9,888 Nigerian voluntary returnees from different parts of the world. Recently, Libya, also promised increased collaboration with NAPTIP, especially as it regards assistance to the returnees who are victims of human trafficking.
In what he tagged “a new beginning in the renewed partnership between NAPTIP and IOM”, Mr. Celestin promised to support “NAPTIP’s priorities in their programmes”, and pledged to consult the Agency from the beginning of every project that involves combating human trafficking and irregular migration in Nigeria.
In her remarks, the Director-General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli, congratulated him on his new position, and commended the IOM for the great job they are doing by ensuring the safe return of stranded Nigerians in Libya who have indicated willingness to come back to Nigeria.
She further expressed her appreciation to IOM for their assistance to the Agency over the years, which include donating and equipping the first shelter operated by NAPTIP, assistance in setting up and take-off of the NAPTIP Lagos Zonal Command, and several capacity building trainings for Officers of the Agency.
She encouraged them to also beam their light on Mali and other West African Countries where Nigerians are stranded in their numbers, a lot of them victims of human trafficking and irregular migration.
The NAPTIP boss further enjoined IOM to come to the rescue of Nigerians trapped in exploitative labour conditions in Saudi Arabia, Oman, United Arab Emirates, and other Middle East Countries.
According to the Director-General, “thousands of Nigerian girls and young women who went to Saudi Arabia and Oman under the guise of domestic workers are living in slave-like conditions, and they cry out daily for help”.
She added that NAPTIP should be fully involved in the rehabilitation and reintegration of the returnees who are victims of human trafficking.
This, according to her, is to ensure proper and effective implementation of the reintegration and rehabilitation programme, and adequate monitoring and evaluation.