Cablegate: Head of Trafficking Agency Discusses Nigerian
This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.
UNCLAS ABUJA 001373
DEPT FOR G/TIP
E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: SMIG PHUM KCRM KWMN ELAB NI HUMANRIGHTS
SUBJECT: HEAD OF TRAFFICKING AGENCY DISCUSSES NIGERIAN
REF: ABUJA 573
SENSITIVE BUT UNCLASSIFIED. NOT FOR PUBLICATION ON THE
INTRANET OR INTERNET.
1. (SBU) Summary. In a courtesy call on the Ambasador,
Nigeria's anti-trafficking agency discussed its work during
its first year of existence, gave the status of two
prosecutions underway in Kano, described the horrors of the
overland trafficking in persons (TIP) route north through the
Sahara, and talked of the difficulty of winning trafficking
convictions. Lacking any high-profile convictions or even
prosecutions, the agency is fighting an uphill battle. End
2. (U) On the morning of August 4, the Ambassador received a
courtesy call from three officials from the National Agency
for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP):
Executive Secretary Mrs. Carol Nduguba, Head of Public
Awareness Mr. Arinze Orakwue, and Head of Prosecution Mr.
Haruna. The request for the NAPTIP courtesy call arrived
from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs the day after Mrs.
Nduguba missed a meeting of NAPTIP officials with G/TIP and
AF/W officials in July.
3. (U) The NAPTIP team began by listing Nigeria's successes
against TIP. Nigeria is the only country in Africa with a
specific law against TIP, they said, and a specific agency
set up to fight it. Mrs. Ndaguba went on to discuss many of
the same things the NAPTIP staff had discussed with the G/TIP
team on July 23.
4. (SBU) Mrs. Ndaguba mentioned that NAPTIP's one-year
anniversary would be August 8, but due to scheduling
problems, they expected to have a ceremony in October
instead. She invited the Ambassador to the ceremony, and he
5. (U) While the discussion covered much of the same ground
as previous talks with different officials in different
settings, there were some noteworthy items. For example,
Mrs. Ndaguba discussed the role of Kano, in northern Nigeria,
as both a route and a resource for trafficking overland,
through the Sahara, to Morocco and on to Spain. She
described the Sahara crossing as nightmarish, with repeated
rapes common, and a survival rate of 5-6 members out of a
group of 30 not unusual.
6. (U) Mrs. Ndaguba also talked about two prosecutions
underway in Kano, along with the difficulty of pursuing TIP
cases. In order to win convictions, courts require the
testimony of the trafficking victims, who often would rather
not be repatriated to Nigeria. Nigerian law provides for
very few non-bailable offenses, so the two wealthy defendants
in the Kano cases were both quickly released on bail.
7. (U) Also, victims are intimidated by juju, an indigenous
religious practice. "Juju men," self-appointed witch
doctors, swear the trafficked persons to oaths of silence,
the violation of which would result in disease, disfigurment,
death, or some other dire outcome. Mr. Haruna said that one
juju man had been arrested, but it was very difficult to
convince victims to violate their juju oaths and testify.
8. (SBU) Comment. While the NAPTIP team seems sincere and
motivated, there are persistent rumors of senior state
government officials' involvement in TIP. If NAPTIP were to
bring forward a high-profile case against a senior official,
it would have a major impact in public awareness of the
issue. End Comment.