Home News NAPTIP commander urges judiciary to hasten prosecution of cases

NAPTIP commander urges judiciary to hasten prosecution of cases


Lagos – The Lagos Zonal Command, National Agency for Prohibition of Traffic In Persons and Other Related Matters (NAPTIP) has urged the judiciary to hastily dispose of cases involving human traffickers.

The Zonal Commander, Mr Joseph Famakin, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) that speedy prosecution of suspected traffickers would help in prosecuting the fight against the vice.

Famakin, who spoke with NAN against the backdrop of the number of cases the agency had pending in the High and Supreme Courts, said it would also restrain intending traffickers.

He disclosed that the agency had 53 cases pending in the six states within zone and seven in the Court of Appeal and four in the Supreme Court.

“The problem is that the judicial procedure is cumbersome in the sense that there are cases that can last for two to three years.

“And in the process sometimes, witnesses become disillusioned.

“In a case that is on for two years, and witnesses have given evidence, then the judge is transferred, a new judge takes over and the case has to start over again,’’ he said.
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Famakin noted that in the process, prosecution witnesses could have begun a new phase of life and might find it difficult coming back to the court.

“I give you a simple scenario, a lady who was trafficked came back to Nigeria, she was rescued by NAPTIP and as the case commenced she testified.

“Then at the stage of concluding the case which has been on for four years, the judge was then transferred and another judge took over and the case had to start again.

“By then, the lady had got married and her husband was unaware she was a victim of human trafficking because of stigmatisation.

“In trying to call her to come and testify for us again, she was already pregnant for the second time.

“She told us there is no way she could come to testify and that she has come to Lagos up to five times to come and testify earlier on.

“What will she tell her husband that she is going to Lagos to do?’’

The commander advised that the judicial system needed a holistic reform not only for cases of human trafficking but in all court proceedings.

“The problem is a general one that allows cases to last for more than what it’s expected to be, we need to do something about it.

“If you know the number of cases we have in Lagos zone presently, about 53 in the six states in the zone.

“We have seven cases in the court of appeal, four cases in the Supreme Court but we have handed over two to Abuja to handle.

“And some of these cases have been on for about five years,’’ he said. (NAN)

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