By Mustapha Sumaila
The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) is to establish a Regional Training Academy for the teaching of counter trafficking issues.
The NAPTIP Director-General, Ms Julie Okah–Donli disclosed this on Wednesday in Abuja while inaugurating a 27-member Steering Committee for the establishment of the academy.
Okah-Donli explained that the need to close the existing knowledge gaps amongst Law Enforcement Agencies in the country and the West Africa on issues involving fight against human trafficking necessitated the development.
She said that national and international crime with huge implications for national security and sovereignty had made it necessary for such an academy to be established.
According to her, the steering committee is to see to the successful establishment of a standard Regional Training Academy that will offer solution to all institutional needs and satisfy the requirements around the spheres of human trafficking and other related matters.
The NAPTIP Boss stated that this was geared towards effective continuous capacity building of NAPTIP personnel and other relevant stakeholders within the country and the West African region.
She added that it would also help in meeting the needs of national and international researchers in the field of human trafficking.
Okah-Donli explained that the agency, being the first of its kind in the world with a huge mandate of preventing the crime, prosecuting offenders, protecting and assisting rescued victims was equipped for such academy.
She emphasised that NAPTIP had been partnering with all stakeholders to curb the menace and has over the years provided a learning ground for various stakeholders within and outside the country.
”Many of our partners from the West African region have over the years relied on us to provide training on how best to fight the scourge bearing in mind our many years of experience in the fight against human trafficking.
“Many, including those from Europe, have been here on study tours and we need to properly put in place a befitting place to help in raising the capacity of our personnel, those of our sister agencies and those from abroad especially from our sub-region’’ she said.
According to her, the need to ensure proper identification and profiling of both suspected human traffickers and victims of trafficking had made it imperative to build a regional academy on counter human trafficking in Nigeria.
“Since its inception, the agency had to build the capacity of its manpower through improvised and haphazard ways, leading to an uncoordinated manpower development process.
“When the academy has fully taken off it shall take charge of the training needs of the agency and responsible for the professional development of officers and men.
“It shall play a pivotal role in research, documentation, publication and training of officers to constantly update officers’ knowledge on emerging trends in trafficking in persons.
“It will help in providing the needed raw materials for precise policy/legal reviews that will provide adequate response to the scourge of trafficking in persons” she said.