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Cablegate: Tip: Nigeria Interim Assessment

This record is a partial extract of the original cable. The full text of the original cable is not available.

UNCLAS SECTION 01 OF 03 LAGOS 002301

SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: N/A
TAGS: PHUM PREL KCRM KWMN NI
SUBJECT: TIP: NIGERIA INTERIM ASSESSMENT

REF: STATE 228458

1. When Post made its submission last March for the 2004
TIP Report, the GON had just created the National Agency
for the Prohibition of Traffic in Persons and Other
Related Matters (NAPTIP). With a staff of over 150 now
in place, the fledgling agency has demonstrated its
commitment to combating trafficking and has made a
discernable level of progress in all areas described
below. However, inadequate funding for NAPTIP and other
anti-trafficking efforts is a major constraint. NAPTIP
relies heavily on international organizations and foreign
governments for financial and other support, particularly
for assistance to victims. Fortunately, international
organizations report a good working relationship with
NAPTIP.

2. The Nigeria Police Force (NPF) Anti-trafficking Task
Force, which existed before the establishment of NAPTIP,
also continues to combat trafficking. The head of the
task force reports that their activities have decreased
as NAPTIP's have grown. She commented that the task
force now plays a "complementary role." The task force is
also under-funded, perhaps more so than NAPTIP. Police
officers claim that NAPTIP staff are better paid. They
commented that these perceived discrepancies do not
foster a good working relationship.

a) Progress made in reducing TIP-related corrupt
practices by officials with responsibility for regulating
cross-border movement.

3. NAPTIP officials realize that corruption is an
important issue. The agency has received reports from
informants and foreign officials that law enforcement
officers and individuals in the immigration and airport
authorities collaborate in trafficking across Nigeria's
borders. To address the problem, NAPTIP has briefed the
heads of police and immigration on the issue and warned
them of the agency's resolve to investigate and prosecute
any official involved in TIP offenses. NAPTIP is also
working with the minister of aviation to address
corruption among airport officials.

b) Progress made in increasing the number of
investigations, arrests, and prosecutions of traffickers,
as well as continuing the prosecution of those already in
custody.

4. NAPTIP established its National Investigation Task
Force (NITF) by selecting personnel with good records
from among police and immigration officers. The agency
prefers to rely on NITF officers for its investigations
rather than the police because of concerns about
corruption and the quality of investigations.

5. NAPTIP has investigated thirty-five cases since
February 2004, with many of the cases still pending. The
agency has collaborated with the Spanish police, the
Italian National Anti-mafia Bureau, and the police force
of the Benin Republic on investigations in several cases.
NAPTIP has made arrests in thirteen cases. Four cases,
involving six traffickers, have gone to court. One of
the trials has been completed; NAPTIP officials are
hopeful of a conviction when the court renders judgment
November 18.

6. NAPTIP officials highlighted one case in particular
as an example of "best practices." This summer, NAPTIP
apprehended two practitioners of traditional local
religious magic who were used to facilitate trafficking
by threatening victims with curses in order to procure
their silence. Officials confiscated items from the
shrines of these two men and the men served as
prosecution witnesses. NAPTIP officials reported that a
high percentage of girls and women trafficked believe
that they have been placed under curses. NAPTIP hopes
the apprehension of these two individuals will help sever
the instances of cooperation between traditional
religious practices and trafficking in persons.

7. NAPTIP officials commented that investigations have
been far more expensive and time-consuming than
anticipated when the agency began. They said their
investigations so far have been reactive, built on cases
in which a victim or trafficker has come into their
custody. The officials said in the future, pending
funding availability, they would like to pursue cases
proactively when they have information but no
specifically known trafficker or victim.

8. The NPF Anti-trafficking Task Force has established
and staffed eleven units in states with the worst
trafficking problems. The head of the task force said
that units from five states have reported thirty-one
cases, involving thirty-nine victims and fifty-one
suspects thus far in 2004. (Note: Records are not kept
with enough precision at this point to determine which
cases reported by the police overlap with those tracked
by NAPTIP.)

9. Nigerian Immigration Service has anti-trafficking
units in its seven zonal headquarters and in the states
considered vulnerable.

c) Progress made in training officials and traditional
rulers in the new anti-TIP law and NAPTIP mandate

10. NAPTIP and the NPF Anti-trafficking Task Force have
made progress in training officials and traditional
rulers. NAPTIP has trained its National Investigation
Task Force on the provisions of the TIP prohibition law,
care of victims, Interpol standards, and corruption and
human rights issues. Agency officials have delivered a
lecture to police at the Command and Staff College in
Sokoto State. The NPF Anti-trafficking Task Force has
trained senior officers as part of advanced detective
courses at the Staff College in Jos, Plateau State. They
also have distributed copies of the TIP prohibition law
to the police command office in every state.

11. NAPTIP officials delivered a lecture at the
Immigration Training School in Kano to educate
immigration officers on their role under the TIP
prohibition law. They also gave a lecture on the new law
to judges and magistrates in the Southeast. The agency
is arranging to train judges in the South South,
Northwest, and Central regions as well.

12. NAPTIP officials have met with several major
traditional leaders to raise their awareness about
trafficking and the new law, including the Oba of Benin,
the Alake of Egbaland (Abeokuta), the Asagba of Asaba,
and the Emir of Kano. They said the Emir, perhaps the
preeminent traditional leader in the North, was
particularly upset to learn that some traffickers use the
Hajj to traffic persons to Saudi Arabia.

d) Progress made in assisting TIP victims once they are
found.

13. The government has made progress in assisting
victims. NAPTIP serves as the point of contact for
immigration and police officials when victims are found.
Seventy-four victims have passed through the agency in
2004. NAPTIP has directly provided overnight shelter to
some, but most often, agency officials connect victims to
nongovernmental or international organizations for
shelter, counseling, and reintegration assistance. In a
couple cases, the government has helped victims
repatriate to Nigeria. NAPTIP also has helped to reunite
several trafficked children with their families.

14. The Nigerian federal government donated a building
for a 120-bed shelter in Lagos for a ten-year period to
be run by the International Organization for Migration
(IOM) and NAPTIP. With US and Italian government
support, IOM renovated the building, which also includes
offices for IOM and NAPTIP staff. The US government
(G/TIP and USAID) provided funds for the salaries of IOM
and NAPTIP staff for up to one year and for
transportation, psychological counseling, and personal
items for victims. The shelter was opened July 22, 2004.
However, IOM reports that the shelter is now closed due
to a lack of operating funds. NAPTIP expects to open the
shelter again within a month.

15. For victims serving as witnesses, a divisional
police officer is appointed to serve as the witness
protection officer. NAPTIP officials and the officer
work together to provide assistance. NAPTIP also created
a brochure to let victims know the agency exists to help
them if they would like to pursue prosecution. The
brochure is distributed to deportees returning to Nigeria
in hopes that it will encourage unidentified trafficking
victims among them to come forward. The brochure has
prompted at least one woman returned from Italy to
contact NAPTIP.

16. The Ministry of Labour and Productivity, in
collaboration with the ILO, NAPTIP, the police and other
federal agencies, has a program to provide food,
transportation, and other logistical assistance to
reunite internally and externally trafficked children
with their families.

17. At the state level, the government of Akwa Ibom has
donated a shelter for trafficked children and has pledged
to establish a skills acquisition center. The government
of Kano State is working with UNICEF to establish a
shelter for victims.

e) Progress made in developing an anti-TIP media campaign

18. NAPTIP has created a website to provide information
to the public (www.naptip.gov.ng). The agency also has
established a hotline for victims and anyone seeking or
wanting to provide information about trafficking. The
hotline is staffed twenty-four hours a day. The number
is provided on various NAPTIP publications and through
other agency efforts. The ILO also has incorporated the
hotline number into its TIP awareness raising efforts.

19. NAPTIP has developed a good working relationship
with the media. The agency has distributed copies of the
anti-trafficking law and other materials to various media
offices. NAPTIP involved the media when officials
visited the eleven states with the worst trafficking
problems to publicize the new anti-TIP law. NAPTIP
officials have appeared on national talk shows and state
programs. They have developed a relationship with
newspaper bureau chiefs to encourage them to give TIP
stories prominence when they arise. Some police chiefs
also have worked to publicize cases in the media.

20. NAPTIP has developed and produced television
advertisements in English and Pidgin English. The ads
aim to publicize the existence of NAPTIP and its
commitment to pursuing traffickers and assisting victims.
The agency does not have funding to air the ads, but
officials have approached the minister of information as
well as private companies and the European union to ask
for support.

CAMPBELL

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
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