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Human Trafficking: NAPTIP commends EU for support

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Fatimah Waziri-Azi
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The National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), has commended the European Union for its support in the fight against human trafficking.

The Director General of the agency, Mrs Fatimah Waziri-Azi, gave the commendation at an award and speech making day organised by the International Ibero-American Foundation for Administration and Public Policies (FIIAPP).

FIIAPP is a Spanish public agency implementing a project in Nigeria tagged “Action Against Trafficking in Persons and Smuggling of Migrants (A-TIPSOM)”, aimed at eliminating human trafficking and smuggling of migrants.

Waziri-Azi said that the support NAPTIP had received from the EU over the years had assisted the agency to achieve significant milestones in the fight against human trafficking.

She said that NAPTIP would forever remain grateful to FIIAPP over the A-TIPSOM project, adding that collaboration like this was a reminder that partnerships can make a difference.

“Human trafficking is not only a problem, it is a crises. Empirical evidence shows that it has become the third largest criminal enterprise globally and second amongst transnational organised crime.

“It is a crime in which the potential victims and allies are completely ignorant about the dangers that await them over their choices. It is portrayed by the traffickers as the best choice to end the circle of poverty in a family.

“It is for these reasons that the Federal Government of Nigeria ratified all the conventions on human trafficking including the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organised Crime and its two related protocols in 2000.

“It also ratified the enactment of the trafficking in persons prohibition enforcement and administration Act 2003, as amended in 2015. The Act established NAPTIP as the specialised anti-trafficking agency with prosecutorial powers,” she said.

Waziri-Azi stated that NAPTIP was stepping up its efforts by applying 24 hours all hands-on-deck approach to all cases of trafficking in persons, as well as prioritising the prosecution of high profile traffickers, and enhancing the prevention of trafficking, through sustained awareness creation.

She said that the agency was in the final stages of developing the National Action Plan on Human Trafficking in Nigeria 2022-2025 with Switzerland and technical support from the United Nations Office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC) that would strengthen training of officers.

She, therefore, solicited the continued support of all stakeholders, saying that everybody had a role to play and that NAPTIP would continue to scale-up access to justice for people.

On his part, the A-TIPSOM team leader in Nigeria, Mr Rafael-Rios Molina, said that his foundation would continue  supporting the federal government in the fight against human trafficking through A-TIPSOM, announcing that its official partnership with the government had been extended for additional one year.

According to him, A-TIPSOM began in 2018, through an agreement between the EU and the Government of Nigeria, to address trafficking in persons and smuggling of migrants.

He said that FIIAPP would continue to support the fight against human trafficking in Nigeria. through the support of EU.

On the award for speech making and essay competition, on trafficking, a total of 300 entries were received by FIIAPP, while award was given to three finalists from Reginal Pacis College, Abuja.

The awardees were Chidinma Nwosu, Anayo Rosemary and Ikpeme Christabel, who emerged first, second and third respectively, while others from Government Secondary School, Wuse and Tudun Wada also received awards. (NAN)

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Supreme Court Orders FG To Pay allocations Directly To LGAs

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The supreme court has ruled that the federal government should henceforth pay allocations directly to local government councils from the federation account.

Delivering judgment in the suit on Thursday, a seven-member panel of justices held that state governments have continued to abuse their powers by retaining and using the funds meant for LGAs.

In May, the federal government filed a suit at the supreme court against governors of the 36 states.

In the suit marked SC/CV/343/2024, the federal government asked for full autonomy for the country’s 774 local governments.

In the suit filed by Lateef Fagbemi, attorney-general of the federation (AGF) and minister of justice, the federal government also requested the supreme court to authorise the direct transfer of funds from the federation account to local governments — in accordance with the constitution.

The suit was hinged on 27 grounds.

“That the constitution of Nigeria recognizes federal, states and local governments as three tiers of government and that the three recognized tiers of government draw funds for their operation and functioning from the federation account created by the constitution,” the originating summons had read.

“That all efforts to make the governors comply with the dictates of the 1999 Constitution in terms of putting in place a democratically elected local government system, has not yielded any result and that to continue to disburse funds from the federation account to governors for non-existing democratically elected local governments is to undermine the sanctity of the 1999 constitution.”

The federal government had asked the apex court to invoke sections 1, 4, 5, 7 and 14 of the constitution to declare that the governors and state houses of assembly are under obligation to ensure democratically elected systems at the third tier.

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N33bn Fraud: Ex-Minister Mamman Collapses Outside Court

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The arraignment of Saleh Mamman, the former Minister of Power under ex-President Muhammadu Buhari, was on Thursday, July 11, 2024, stalled at a Federal High Court in Abuja due to ill health.

Mamman, whose plea was fixed for Thursday morning, collapsed outside the courtroom before the case was called.

The former minister’s counsel, Femi Ate (SAN), told the presiding judge Justice James Omotosho shortly when the matter was called for Mamman to take his plea.

Upon resumed hearing, the ex-minister walked into the courtroom and stepped into the dock with part of his clothes drenched.

Justice Omotosho then asked why Mamman was sweating or whether it was raining outside.

The former minister, who responded from the dock, said water was poured on him.

The counsel for the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Adeyinka Olumide-Fusika (SAN), while addressing the court, said though the matter was fixed for Mamman’s arraignment, there was a development outside the courtroom.

Olumide-Fusika said he had a discussion with Ate outside the courtroom about Mamman’s ill-health.

“I was informed of an incident outside. I will want my learner senior advocate to tell the honourable court himself,” he said.

Speaking, Ate said Mamman, “upon being brought into the premises of the court collapsed and had to be resuscitated and treated by the medical personnel of the Federal High Court.”

He said his client was served with the charge after he was resuscitated.

N1.6bn fraud: Please give me time to return looted funds, ex-AGF begs court

“He was served this morning,” he added.

The lawyer said he sought the understanding of Olumide-Fusika for an adjournment so that the arraignment could be done on Monday when his client would have been okay.

However, the judge said due to the workload in the court dockets, the arraignment could only be fixed for September ending.

Ate then withdrew the oral application for an adjournment.

The judge, however, asked Mamman if he was fit enough to take his plea today and he responded in the affirmative.

Mamman, however, said he was fit to continue with the arraignment.

“It can happen to anyone,” the judge said.

Justice Omotosho, thereafter, stepped down the arraignment until Thursday afternoon.

The EFCC had filed a 12-count money laundering charge against the Mamman.

He was alleged to have committed money laundering offences to the tune of N33 billion.

The former minister served under former President Buhari from 2019 to 2021.

 

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Olaide Akinremi, House Of Reps Member, Dies At 51

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Olaide Adewale Akinremi, a member of the house of representatives, is dead.

The lawmaker died on Wednesday morning aged 51.

Akinremi represented Ibadan north federal constituency on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

He was a ranking member and house committee chairman on science and research.

In a statement, Akin Rotimi, spokesperson of the house, said the Oyo lawmaker was a “dedicated public servant known for his unwavering commitment to the development of his constituency and the country at large”.

“His passion for service, coupled with his deep understanding of the needs and aspirations of his people, earned him the endearing title of ‘Jagaban’.

“Throughout his tenure, he was a staunch advocate for policies and initiatives that promoted social welfare, economic growth, and scientific research.

“His contributions to legislative debates and his active participation in committee activities were a testament to his dedication and hard work.

“Rep. Akinremi was as much a grassroots politician as he was an astute statesman who leveraged his goodwill and network of relationships to attract positive impact to the people of his constituency.

“He built friendships by being intentional about reaching out and sending goodwill messages to all colleagues on special occasions, fostering camaraderie and unity within the House.

“As a ranking member, Rep. Akinremi had keen institutional memory and was a mentor to many first-time parliamentarians, guiding them with wisdom gained from his extensive experience in legislative affairs.”

Tajudeen Abbas, speaker of the house, also expressed “profound sadness” over the passing of the lawmaker.

“Rep. Akinremi Olaide Adewale was a beacon of dedication and service,” Abbas said.

“His contributions to our legislative work, especially in the area of science and research, were invaluable.

“His passing is a great loss to the House, his constituency, and the nation. We will miss his leadership, wisdom, and the unique passion he brought to his work.”

Akinremi’s death comes weeks after the passing of Isa Dogonyaro, a member of the house of representatives who represented Babura/Garki federal constituency of Jigawa state.

Dogonyaro died in May after a brief illness.

 

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