Posted by Sade Williams
National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP) on Thursday hailed West Africa’s largest carrier, Air Peace, its Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Allen Onyema and crew members for waging war against human trafficking.
The agency conferred the carrier with an award for providing a platform for checking trafficking in persons and presented Onyema and some crew with ambassadorial medals for foiling an attempt to traffic a three-month-old boy using the airline’s Lagos-Banjul flight on June 4, 2018.
Meanwhile, the Chairman of Air Peace has assured that the airline would partner with NAPTIP in the agency’s task of checking human trafficking, including providing jobs for victims of the illicit trade in persons.
Speaking when she visited Air Peace Corporate Headquarters on Thursday, the Director General of NAPTIP, Dame Julie Okah-Donli commended the airline’s flight and cabin crew members for frustrating attempts by human traffickers to use the carrier’s flights for their illegal trade.
She cited the rescue of a three-month-old boy from traffickers on the airline’s Lagos-Banjul flight on June 4, 2018 as a feat that had distinguished Air Peace as an organisation working vigorously to assist the agency to stop human trafficking.
She confirmed that suspects in the Banjul incident, Mrs. Edith Anthony-Ibeneme and Mrs Emerald Bassey, had no biological connection to the baby and failed to provide valid adoption documents.
Okah-Donli said the baby was brought back to Nigeria on March 19 and was currently under the care of NAPTIP, stressing that the agency was working with the Gambian authorities to extradite the suspects.
The agency, she said, decided to honour Air Peace, its chairman and crew to encourage others to emulate their worthy examples in fighting human trafficking.
“This ceremony represents NAPTIP’s determination to recognise and encourage such feats which contribute to the stemming of the tide of human trafficking in Nigeria. We are proud to present an award to Air Peace Limited and to decorate the chairman of the airline and those gallant crew members with ambassadorial medals,” Okah-Donli said.
She urged other airlines and organisations to learn from the vigilance displayed by Air Peace crew in checking human trafficking.
Apart from Onyema, other Air Peace staff decorated by NAPTIP were Capt. Isi Eghoghon, Capt. Sinmisola Ajibola and First Officer Ayodeji Bode-Thomas. Cabin crew members decorated with NAPTIP’s ambassadorial medals included Chioma Agba, Nana De-Man, Cynthia Ugba, Mojoko Ewane, Taiye Abbey, Victoria Okpiaifo and Ngozi Ezeamaka.
Responding after their decoration, Air Peace Chairman, Mr. Allen Onyema said the carrier would partner with NAPTIP as part of the airline’s support for the Federal Government’s efforts in curbing human trafficking in Nigeria.
He pledged that the airline would provide jobs for victims of human trafficking as part of assisting NAPTIP to rehabilitate them.
He commended NAPTIP for the recognition, urging other organisations to support the agency to sustain the great job it was doing in checking human trafficking.
“NAPTIP has been doing a great job in curbing human trafficking but we cannot leave it for government alone. Air Peace will join hands with you to tackle this menace. We will help in the rehabilitation of some of the victims by providing employment for them in our organisation.
“It is not enough to rescue these victims and bring them back to Nigeria. They should also be rehabilitated and reintegrated into the society. So, we are doing this to transform their lives and make them to know that they can earn money doing legitimate jobs whether they are educated or not,” Onyema said.