From Godwin Tsa, Abuja
The Federal Government has extended its whistle blowing policy to the fight against human trafficking.
Government’s action is sequel to a request by the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Julie Okah-Donli, to extend the whistle blowing policy to issues of human trafficking.
This she explained, was to encourage people report cases of trafficking in persons and provide information on assets of traffickers to the agency without fear of reprisals.
The approval was conveyed to the Director-General of the agency by the Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, Mr. Abubakar Malami.
A statement by Vincent Adekoye for the Head of Press &Public Relations (NAPTIP) said the inclusion of human trafficking cases into the whistle blowing policy has remained one of the cardinal plans of Okah-Donli since she assumed office late April, 2017.
The statement said the DG was concerned that many cases of human trafficking have not been tackled because those who were aware of such incidences never reported to NAPTIP and other relevant agencies.
In a letter dated August 7, 2017 and addressed to the DG of NAPTIP, the Director (Solicitors Department) Z. S Adevanju, conveyed the approval of the Attorney-General and Minister of Justice.
He stated that the approval was given based on the fact that the request by NAPTIP for the inclusion of human trafficking cases in the whistle blowing policy of the present administration was not in conflict with any extant law.
According to the statement “With the latest development, anybody can now give verifiable information on any case of human trafficking including assets of human traffickers for possible confiscation through legal proceedings to NAPTIP.
Reacting to this development, Okah-Donli expressed excitement stating that with the approval, the coast has become clearer for informants to come up with verifiable information on human traffickers adding that all information given to the agency will be treated with required confidentiality.
While encouraging members of the public to step forward with information, she added that the agency was working out modalities for reward to informants. She however, appealed that people should not use the policy for vendetta as the NAPTIP will not take kindly to such practices.
She also expressed appreciation to the Federal Government for granting the request within a short time, adding that such a gesture was an indication of the present administration’s readiness to end human trafficking in Nigeria.