From Petrus Obi, Enugu
Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, has urged the South East governors to shut down all illegal maternities and clinics where illicit adoption of children take place on a daily basis.
She also canvassed collaboration and assistance from critical stakeholders in the fight against human trafficking in the South East.
Speaking in Enugu at the weekend, the NAPTIP boss lamented the proliferation of baby factories in the region, expressing regrets that it has become a great dent on the Igbo.
Okah-Donli, spoke during a three- day familiarisation visit to Enugu Zonal Command of the agency.
According to her, the visit was to assess the condition in the zone and to determine their strengths, challenges and to identify how best to modify and mould their operations to fit into the overall strategic plans of the agency.
She disclosed that the agency was building a synergy with religious leaders and opinion leaders for the purpose of monitoring unwholesome activities of traffickers within their settlements.
“The worse situation being the way young girls are brought into such places, impregnated and kept to deliver and babies sold to highest bidders. Some women in dire need of children have been defrauded while lives have also been lost.
“This matter needs to be addressed urgently by all political, community and religious leaders of the South East as this ugly trend is putting a serious dent on the image of the region and the nation at large,” she noted.
“May I state that the responsibility of tackling this menace is a collective one. There is need therefore, to take a holistic and coordinated approach to addressing the predisposing factors such as poverty, illiteracy, ignorance, unemployment and the gradual erosion of our cultural and ethical values.
“Therefore, I will like to take more proactive measures in reducing those conditions that lead to vulnerability within their domain.”
Okah-Donli further called on states that are finding it difficult to properly implement the Child’s Right laws to put in place, adequate machinery to implement them.
On her vision for the agency, she said:“my vision for the agency is to re-engineer it to take its proper place as the specialised crime fighting agency that is foremost in the suppression and elimination of trafficking in persons.
“With attention on awareness creation, advocacy, enforcement of law, capacity development as well as comprehensive rehabilitation of victims of human trafficking in order to enhance the dignity of all persons in line with international best practices.”she stated.