Nigeria has signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the Government of Burkina Faso to prevent, suppress and punish trafficking in persons especially women and children.
The signing of the agreement is considered a major feat in the country’s renewed determination to tackle issues of human trafficking with the active involvement of neighbouring countries.
A statement by the Press Officer of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), Mr Vincent Adekoye, said the legal instrument designed to checkmate activities of human traffickers and their cohort operating within the corridors of the two countries was signed in Abuja at the climax of the 3rd Nigeria/Burkina Faso Joint Commission.
Adekoye added that the signing of the MoU came a few weeks after a similar agreement was signed between Nigeria and the Government of the Republic of Niger.
The statement explained that the MoU was as a result of concern about the magnitude and menace of human trafficking especially in women and children in both countries and its negative socio-economic impact on the wellbeing of their citizenry.
The MoU has a total of 18 articles among which are the definition of human trafficking with all the elements, prosecution of offenders, communication, identifications, protection and care of victims of human trafficking, return, repatriation of proceeds of the crime, as well as rehabilitation and reintegration of victims.
In his speech, the Permanent Secretary, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mr. Gabriel Tanimu Aduda, stated that the agreement was part of Nigeria’s effort to enhance mutual cooperation and strengthen relationship between the two countries.
He assured stakeholders that the contents of the MoU will be fully implemented in line with the approved procedures.
Also in her speech, the Director General of the Burkina Faso Bilateral Cooperation, Mrs. Bakyonon Kanzie, thanked the Federal Government of Nigeria for the agreement, adding that her country shall implement all aspects of the agreement to the benefits of Nigeria and Burkina Faso.
The Director General of NAPTIP, Dr. Fatima Waziri-Azi, who was visibly elated by the development, said the MoU remains a major onslaught on the activities of human traffickers not only within the routes of the two countries, but the entire West African sub-region.
The NAPTIP boss, whose strategic focus of operation aligned with the articles of the MoU, assured the two countries that NAPTIP shall continue to work assiduously to fulfil its mandates of combating human trafficking and all forms of violence against persons in the two countries.