The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) has commenced the prosecution of a Spain based Nigerian, Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia (Aka Mama Bobby, Aka Audu Mariam Olayemi), who is notorious in the trafficking of Nigerian young women from Nigeria to Spain.
Two of her gang members are currently in detention in Spain.
Patricia Igbinovia whom operatives of the agency have been on her trail for a long time was recently arrested in a sting operation in Lagos when she sneaked into the country.
The suspect has also been arraigned before Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos in the charge marked Federal Republic of Nigeria VS Patrick Ekhoe Igbinovia (Aka Mama Bobby , Aka Audu Mariam Olayemi FHC/L/345C/2021.
She has also been remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service while the matter was adjourned to January 17, 2022 for commencement of trial.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi disclosed this at a Virtual meeting;The Conversation With NAPTIP with stakeholders and partners of the agency to mark her first 100 days as Director-General of NAPTIP.
She stated that the prosecution is being supported by the British and Spanish authorities through the Mutual Legal Assistance between Nigeria and the other two countries.
‘’This is the first time NAPTIP would be prosecuting a case where evidence from another country transmitted to Nigeria through Mutual Legal Assistance, is used to arrest the target and case filed in court’’, she added.
This case is coming just as the agency has also commenced the prosecution of an official of a law enforcement agency involved in the trafficking of young persons to other countries.
According to the Director-General, the ongoing prosecutions are in line with the agency’s renewed strategy for enhanced prosecution of high–profile traffickers and cases of violence against persons in Nigeria counted some of her modest milestones since she assumed office,
She said, “Since September, the agency has received 224 cases, investigated 39 and 189 suspects have been detained and interrogated.
“Two hundred and ninety-eight (298) victims have been rescued in partnership with other sister agencies, international organisations, and NGOs.
She said that a total number of 19 repatriations have been successful with the invaluable support of IOM, following intelligence reports received and we have about 15 joint intelligence operations currently ongoing.
NAPTIP has secured six convictions (Kano, Sokoto, Benin). Bringing the total number of convictions to 490’’
Speaking further, she said, “On assumption of office, I was crystal clear and deliberate about what I needed to do and where I want NAPTIP to be as an anti-human trafficking law enforcement Agency. And my approach is based on 4 strategic priorities (Enhanced conviction rate of High Profile Traffickers; evidence based and sustainable return and reintegration programs for victims of TIP & SOM; scaled age-appropriate awareness creation on the ills of TIP, especially at the sub-national level, in urban poor communities and rural areas and amongst the youths; and enhanced visibility of the work of the agency, its partners and reporting channels .These 4 strategic priorities plug into the 5-point overarching strategies of the Agency, which is Prosecution, Protection, Prevention, partnership and policy.
“With the support of IOM, FIIAPP, Italian embassy, UNODC and other partners, we have successfully completed several capacity building for NAPTIP prosecutors, intelligence officers and investigators”.
She however, pointed out that the only panacea to an effective fight against human trafficking across the globe is a sufficient response from stakeholders without borders, enough political will as well as unconditional collaboration and cooperation among State and Non- State Actors.
On evidence–based and sustainable rehabilitation, reintegration and empowerment of survivors, within the period under review, the NAPTIP boss said the Agency has “enrolled 5 victims of violence against persons in school: three (3) in primary school and two (2) in tertiary institutions and reunited Forty-three (43) victims of trafficking with their families, including one Cambodian national who 3 weeks ago returned to her country after 6 months in our shelter. 10 victims in the NAPTIP Shelter have been empowered.
On enhanced awareness creation and sensitization, Dr Fatima Waziri – Azi told participants at the forum that the Agency “reached about 10million people during the 16days activism campaign against sexual and gender–based violence which held between November and December 2021.
“With the support of the EU funded Rule of Law and Anti-corruption program, we recently launched the maiden edition of the Violence Against Persons Prohibition Report 2020; the first report since the enactment of the VAPP Act in 2015. In collaboration with The CANS, we launched the establishment of the first TIP/SGBV Vanguard in secondary school. Our goal is to establish this vanguard in the 110 Federal Government Unity Colleges across the country and we have started with FGGC Abaji, 3 weeks ago. The Vanguard is a platform for young people to get involved in the fight against human trafficking and violence against persons and to create awareness on the ills of TIP.
This will progressively be established in all educational institutions in the country’’, she further stated.
In his speech, the Chief of Mission, International Organisation for Migration (IOM), Mr. Frantz Celestines who was represented by Ms. Prestage Murima, commended the Director General for her achievements, the NAPTIP will want to see and promised the sustained support of IOM to NAPTIP.
Other Speakers included: National President of the Network of Civil Society Organization Against Child trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar, the President of Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), Mr. Abayomi Ajibola and the Executive Director, Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) Mrs. Imaobong Ladipo-Sanusi.