By Justina Auta
Abdulrasheed Bawa, Chairman, Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC),says most trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants into Nigeria is motivated by financial incentives.
Bawa stated this at a training workshop on Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (TIPSOM) Financial and Asset
Investigation held in Abuja.
The three-day training was for investigative officers in National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS) and Nigeria Police Force (NPF).
The programme was organised by International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAP), a Non-Governmental Organisation (NGO) with support from the European Union (EU).
The EFCC boss said criminal activities surrounding TIPSOM generates 150 billion dollars annually globally, adding that investigation into financial aspects of it could assist law enforcement officers to curb the menace.
He added that “investigation and prosecution of human traffickers and smugglers must, therefore, be strengthened to curb the menace.
“Prosecution will uphold the rule of law, ensure community safety, protect victims and help to prevent future crime.”
Bawa said that the workshop would equip investigators to coordinate and collaborate with other law enforcement agencies with evidence from the financial sector in identifying victims, associates and institutions that might be complicated in the crime.
The Director-General of NAPTIP, Basheer Mohammed, said the training was apt, in view of the billions of dollars generated from exploitation and smuggling of persons, “the second largest criminal activity in the world after drug trafficking.”
Mohammed said NAPTIP would establish a financial investigative unit to be domiciled in the Investigation Department to ensure that proceeds of trafficking in persons were traced and forfeited to Federal Government.
He added that “NAPTIP as the country’s focal agency in the fight against trafficking in persons will continue to partner EFCC to ensure that proceeds and assets from human trafficking are investigated, traced and confiscated.”
The Comptroller-General (CG), NIS, Muhammed Babandede, said the ratification and domestication of the Palermo Protocols contained irregular migration and related trans-border crimes between Nigeria and most transit and receiving countries.
He said “TIPSOM are organised criminal activities which violate human rights of victims, result in lasting psychological harm, generates significant profits for criminal groups and undermines national security and economic interest.”
Babandede, who was represented by Ngozi Akalonu, Migration Directorate, NIS, commended the organisations for supporting the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
He, therefore, charged participants to use skills acquired during the training toward tracing and recovering of assets and other proceeds of TPSOM both in Nigeria or abroad.
Josephine Ogechi, Commissioner of Police, Anti Human Trafficking Unit, Force CID, stressed the need for synergy to curb trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants into the country.
The Project Team Leader of FIIAPP Nigeria, Rafael Molina, said the training was to build the capacity of investigators into tracking financial assets of smugglers and traffickers.
Molina, who was represented by Jospeh Sanwo, the Senior Project Officer, said “ours is to support the Federal Government through this agencies to have efficient and effective ways of tracking ill-gotten wealth of the traffickers and smugglers.” (NAN)