From Fred Ezeh, Abuja
Federal Government has secured a partnership with the Government of Burkina Faso to unleash might against human traffickers using the corridors of both countries to carry out their illicit trade.
This came few weeks after similar agreement was signed between Nigeria and the Government of the Republic of Niger, to strengthen existing relationships that would help achieve success against human traffickers.
It was gathered that the legal instrument contained 18 articles among which are the definition of human trafficking with all the elements, prosecution of offenders, communication, identifications, protection and care of victims of human trafficking, return, repatriation of proceeds of the crime as well as rehabilitation and reintegration of victims.
A statement from the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), indicated that the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) took place in Abuja, as part of the 3rd Nigeria /Burkina Faso Joint Commission, and was witnessed by relevant officials of both countries.
The statement stated that Nigeria Ambassador to Burkina Faso, Mistura Abdukarheem signed on behalf of Nigeria, while the Burkina Faso Ambassador to Nigeria, Piabie Firmin N’DO, signed on behalf of the Burkina Faso Government.
Meanwhile, the Director General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr. Fatima Waziri–Azi, in her remarks explained that the feat was part of renewed determination to tackle issues of human trafficking with the active involvement of neighboring Countries.
She said the legal instrument was designed to unleash intense heat on human traffickers and their cohort operating within the corridors of the two Countries
She said: “The MoU was concerned with the magnitude and menace of human trafficking especially in women and children in both countries, and its negative socio-economic impact on the wellbeing of their citizenry.
“It reaffirmed the commitment and obligations of both parties to the implementation of the ECOWAS plan of Action Against Trafficking in persons 2002-2003 and the following ratified international legal instruments.
“It realized that the fight against human trafficking especially women and children across borders can efficiently and effectively be fought if the country of origin, transit and destination countries adopt a common comprehensive approach.
“It also determined to mobilize necessary efforts and resources to punish all those involved in human trafficking especially in women and children, by prosecuting their crimes wherever they occur by co-operating at the international level.
“The MoU is also conscious of the fundamental principle of the best interest of the child and the need to assist the victims of human trafficking, especially women and children.”
The NAPTIP boss who was elated by the development said the MOU remains a major means of onslaught on the activities of human traffickers, not only within the routes of the two Countries, but the entire West African sub-region.
In her speech, the Director General of the Burkina Faso Bilateral Cooperation, Mrs. Bakyonon Kanzie, thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for the agreement, with a promise that her country shall implement all aspects of the agreement to the benefits of Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
The Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, in his remarks, explained that the agreement was part of Government’s effort to enhance mutual cooperation and strengthen relationship between the two Countries.
He assured stakeholders that the contents of the MoU would be fully implemented in line with the approved procedures.