By Mustapha Sumaila
The Director-General of National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Ms Julie Okah-Donli, has set up a Rapid Response Squad (RRS) to boos the fight against human trafficking.
The NAPTIP Head Press and Public Relations, Mr Josiah Emerole said this in a press statement in Abuja on Tuesday.
He said the development was part of the on-going effort by the new management to re-position the agency and for better service delivery.
Emerole explained that the Squad would operate under the direct supervision of the Director-General.
According to him, it will among other things, ensure that all high profile and sensitive cases reported to the agency were given prompt attention and investigated with diligence.
He said that this action was in line with Okah-Donli’s earlier promise on assumption of office to set in motion machinery for diligent operations, especially investigation, victims, care and prosecution.
He said the director-general, in her maiden news conference assured that the nation that ‘’the agency, during my tenure, shall move with all vigour, techniques, skills and expertise.
‘’This is to nab any human trafficker from the point of conceiving the idea to the point of exploitation.
“Efforts shall be made to equip operatives of the agency, to enable them detect and proactively burst any human trafficking action from the bud.
“This simply means that if the traffickers decide to sail across the Ocean, NAPTIP operatives shall be ahead of them.
‘’If they fly in the air, we shall await their landing and on the death prone routes through the hottest deserts, we shall be right at the next point waiting for them.
“The era of trading on our promising youths as commodities is over.
‘’All machinery shall be put in place to ensure that our youths have a secure future, and we shall increase our surveillance and intelligence around the known endemic communities and villages.’’
The spokesperson said that part of terms of reference of the RRS was also to carry out, in an urgent manner, all sensitive assignments and operations as may be directed by the Director-General.
Emerole quoted Okah-Donli as reminding members of the squad, during their inauguration, that the task before them was not an easy one.
Okah-Donli promised to give them all necessary support, including the provision of modern investigation tools to aid their operations.
The NAPTIP boss advised RRS members to remain upright, factual and work in line with international best practices in law enforcement.
She also called on RRS members to be swift in their activities, saying that any undue delay in any rescue operation might spell doom for any victim and the family concerned.
Okah-Donli also enjoined members of the squad to work with all the departments of the agency in their assignment and ensure that culprits were brought to Justice.
According to her, Legal and Prosecution Department has been set up to prosecute offenders using the outcome of the operation of the squad.
The director-general, however, warned that she would not tolerate any indolence in the operation of RRS.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Federal Government recently approved the whistle blowing policy for NAPTIP to fight human trafficking in the country.