The European Union (EU) has announced a ten-million-euro investment in Nigeria’s Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (A-TIPSOM) Project.
Eleni Zetzelidou, an EU delegate, made the announcement on Friday at the pre-launch of the A-TIPSOM project in Nigeria, which was organized by an international NGO, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP). The fund, according to Zetzelidou, will help with policies, security, prosecution, and collaboration between organizations in the ECOWAS region in the field of human trafficking.
“We’ve done similar work before and have previous collaboration projects with other development partners, so launching this platform will expand on previous work,” she explained.
Rafael Molina, Project Team Leader, FIIAPP Nigeria, emphasized the importance of all law enforcement agencies, especially those working at Nigeria’s borders, working together to combat smuggling. The Nigerian Network of Civil Society Organizations Against Trafficking, Abuse, and Labor (NACTAL-Nigeria), the Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), the Nigeria Police Force (NPF), and the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), according to Molina, will all be interested in the project.
Mrs Ugo Ogbude, A-project TIPSON’s consultant, said the project would help to improve cooperation between NGOs in the ECOWAS region in order to combat human trafficking and migrant smuggling. “We hope for a better synergy among NGOS in the region, because we have people in other ECOWAS countries, and you can’t find out where they live or who to contact.
“However, when victims of human trafficking are stranded in some other ECOWAS region, you can easily do that with this platform. “It’s easier to communicate with that country,” she explained.
As a result, she emphasized the importance of allocating more funds and collaborating with organizations with TIPSOM mandates in order to be effective in combating crime. “The job is immense, and combating sex trafficking is not something that can be done by one individual or one organization, so we are promoting synergy, teamwork, and support.
While praising the Nigerian government for its efforts against TIPSOM, Abdulganiyu Abubakar, National President of NACTAL-Nigeria, called for more funding and support to continue and achieve the mission.
“We are grateful for the EU’s generous assistance, but what happens after the ATIPSOM project’s lifecycle has expired? Another problem that we anticipate is sustainability,” he said.
The West African Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (WACTIPSOM), according to Abubakar, is an initiative of NACTAL Nigeria to mobilize civil society organizations throughout the West African region to join the war.
He also said that, while migration is a human right, potential migrants must be educated about the risks, legality, and importance of arriving safely at their desired destination.
Muhammed Babandede, Comptroller-General (CG), NIS, was represented by Asst. Compt. Ahmed Wali, who thanked the organizations for their assistance in the fight against human trafficking and migrant smuggling. Imaan Sulaiman, Director-General of NAPTIP, was portrayed by Chibiyi Olusayo, Director, Research and Programme Department, who emphasized the importance of increased inter-agency cooperation to combat TIPPSOM. Similarly, Alice Abbah, representing the Nigeria Police Force, reaffirmed the Nigeria Police Force’s commitment to fighting human trafficking and migrant smuggling into the country.