The persecution of an alleged human trafficker notorious in the trafficking of young Nigerian women to Spain is being backed with evidence from foreign partners and countries, the Director General of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Dr Fatima Waziri-Azi has disclosed.
She gave the revelation at a virtual meeting with the stakeholders and partners of the agency to mark her first 100 days.
The suspected trafficker identified as Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia (Aka Mama Bobby, Aka Audu Mariam Olayemi) had been on the watch list of NAPTIP for a long time with her two gang members currently in detention in Spain.
Patricia Igbinovia, who is based in Spain was recently arrested in Lagos by the NAPTIP when she sneaked into the country.
She has been arraigned and remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service on the order of Honourable Justice C. J. Aneke of the Federal High Court, Lagos in suit marked Federal Republic of Nigeria v. Patricia Ekhoe Igbinovia (Aka Mama Bobby, Aka Audu Mariam Olayemi, FHC/L/345C/2021 with the matter adjourned to January 17, 2022, for full trial.
According to a statement signed by Vincent Adekoye, the NAPTIP Press Officer, the prosecution was being supported by the British and Spanish authorities through the Mutual Legal Assistance between Nigeria and the other two countries.
The DG affirmed that: ‘’ This is the first time NAPTIP would be prosecuting a case where evidence from another country transmitted to Nigeria through Mutual Legal Assistance, is used to arrest the target and case filed in court.’’
The case is coming just as the agency has also commenced the prosecution of an official of a Law Enforcement Agency involved in the trafficking of young persons to other countries.
Dr Waziri-Azi said: “Since September, the agency has received two hundred and twenty-four (224) cases, investigated thirty-nine (39), and one hundred and eighty-nine (189) suspects have been detained and interrogated.
“Two hundred and ninety-eight (298) victims have been rescued in partnership with other sister agencies, International Organizations, and NGOs. A total number of 19 repatriations have been successful with the invaluable support of IOM, following intelligence reports received and we have about 15 joint intelligence operations currently ongoing. NAPTIP has secured six (6) convictions (Kano, Sokoto, Benin). Bringing the total number of convictions to 490’’.
On evidence–based and sustainable rehabilitation, reintegration, and empowerment of survivors, within the period under review, the NAPTIP boss said the agency has “enrolled 5 victims of violence against persons in school: three (3) in primary school and two (2) in tertiary institutions and reunited Forty-three (43) victims of trafficking with their families, including one Cambodian national whom three weeks ago returned to her country after six months in shelter with the agency while 10 victims in the NAPTIP shelter have been empowered.
In his speech, the Chief of Mission, International Organization for Migration (IOM), Mr. Frantz Celestine who was represented by Ms. Prestage Murima, commended the Director General for her achievements, the NAPTIP will want to see and promised the sustained support of IOM to NAPTIP.
Other Speakers included: National President of the Network of Civil Society Organization Against Child trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL), Mr. Abdulganiyu Abubakar; the President of Journalists International Forum for Migration (JIFORM), Mr. Abayomi Ajibola and the Executive Director, Women Trafficking and Child Labour Eradication Foundation (WOTCLEF) Mrs Imaobong Ladipo-Sanusi.