The European Union (EU) says it has invested 10 million euros in Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (A-TIPSOM) Project in Nigeria.
EU representative, Eleni Zetzelidou, made this disclosure on Friday at the pre-launch of the A-TIPSOM project by an international NGO, the International and Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP) in Nigeria.
Zetzelidou said that the fund would aid in policies, protection, prosecution, and partnership between organisations in the ECOWAS region, in the field of trafficking human beings.
“We have done similar works in the past and have previous cooperation projects with other development partners, so launching this platform will build on existing work done in the past,” she said.
The Project Team Leader, FIIAPP Nigeria, Rafael Molina, stressed the need for all law enforcement agencies, especially those working at Nigeria’s borders, to work together to tackle smuggling in Nigeria.
Molina revealed that the Network of CSOs Against Trafficking, Abuse and Labour (NACTAL-Nigeria), Nigeria Immigration Service (NIS), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons, (NAPTIP), would work on the project.
Project Consultant, A-TIPSON, Mrs Ugo Ogbude, said that the project would assist in enhancing collaboration between NGOs in the ECOWAS region, to eliminate human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
“We hope for a better synergy amongst NGOS in the region, whereby we have our citizens in other ECOWAS countries, you cannot trace their homes, you do not know who to reach out to.
“But with this platform, you can easily do that when victims of human trafficking are stranded in any other ECOWAS country. It is easier to reach out to that country, “she said.
She, therefore, stressed the need for organisations that have the mandates of TIPSOM, to be allotted more funds, and collaboration, to be able to succeed in combatting the crime.
“The work is enormous, the work in combatting human trafficking is not something one person or one organisation can do, so we are encouraging synergy, we are encouraging collaboration and funding.
Abdulganiyu Abubakar, National President, NACTAL-Nigeria, while commending the Nigeria government in the fight against TIPSOM, called for more funding, support to sustain and achieve the goal.
“ We are happy that the EU is graciously supporting this, but what happens after the expiration of the lifecycle of the ATIPSOM project?
“Sustainability is also another challenge that we also envisage,” he said.
Abubakar said that the West African Coalition Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (WACTIPSOM) was an initiative of the NACTAL Nigeria, to mobilise CSOs across the West Africa region, to join in the fight.
He also said that while migration was a human right, it was necessary to sensitise potential migrants on the risk involved, legality and to arrive safe at the desired destination.
The Comptroller-General (CG), NIS, Muhammed Babandede, represented by Asst. Compt. Ahmed Wali, commended the organisations for their supports in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.
Director-General, NAPTIP, Imaan Sulaiman, represented by Chibiyi Olusayo, Director, Research and Programme Department, stressed the need for more inter- agencies collaboration to end the crime of TIPPSOM.
Similarly, the Nigeria Police Force, represented by Alice Abbah, reiterated their commitment in the fight against human trafficking and smuggling of migrants into the country.