PRESIDENT Muhammadu Buhari has appointed Fatima Waziri-Azi as the director-general of the National Agency for Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP).
The appointment was confirmed in a statement by Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media and Publicity Garba Shehu on Wednesday.
Shehu said Waziri-Azi’s appointment was subject to the recommendations of the Minister of Humanitarian Affairs, Disaster Management and Social Development Sadiya Farouq.
He said that the minister had expressed the “urgent need for the ministry to intensify the existing capacity in the NAPTIP to achieve its key result areas as identified.”
Waziri-Azi, who will be taking over from Basheer Mohammed, was said to have been appointed based on her “pedigree, vast experience and proven track record to drive the agency forward and consolidate on what has been achieved so far.”
Until her appointment, Waziri-Azi was the former head of the public law department at the Nigerian Institute of Advanced Legal Studies.
According to Shehu, she was also an expert in the rule of law and an advocate against domestic and sexual-based violence.
NAPTIP is a law enforcement agency of the Federal Government of Nigeria, founded in 2003 to combat human trafficking and other similar human rights violations.
It was Nigeria’s response to addressing the scourge of trafficking in persons. It was also fulfilling the country’s international obligation under the Trafficking in Persons Protocol to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons, especially women and children, complementing the United Nations Transnational Organized Crime Convention (UNTOC).
Nigeria became a signatory to the Transnational Organized Crime Convention and its Trafficking in Persons Protocol on December 13, 2000.
Article 5 of the Trafficking Protocol enjoins state parties to criminalise practices and conduct that subject human beings to all forms of exploitation, including minimum sexual and labour exploitation.
In July, NAPTIP claimed it had rescued close to 16,277 victims of human trafficking in the country since its inception.
It also added that it had succeeded in prosecuting and jailing over 550 traffickers.