17 January 2013

Nigeria: FEC Moves to Check Human Trafficking, Building Collapse, Others

The Federal Executive Council (FEC) has approved a draft bill against human trafficking as well as sanctions against the contractor and supervisors of the collapsed building developed by Federal Housing Authority (FHA) and occupied by the Nigerian Navy in Gwarimpa, Abuja.

This was disclosed by the Minister of Information, Mr. Labaran Maku at a media briefing on the outcome of the weekly FEC meeting chaired by President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan at the State House, Abuja on Wednesday, January 16.

Maku, who was in company of his counterparts in the Land, Housing and Urban Development, Ama Pepple, as well as Minister of State Defence, Obada, stated that bill against human trafficking presented by the Ministry of Justice and approved by the Council for onward transmission to the National Assembly, prescribed five to seven year jail terms and sundry fines for human traffickers.

“The Attorney-General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, tabled a memorandum before the council to seek approval for the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Enforcement and Administration Bill, 2012. The existing legal framework for addressing the subject matter which is the Trafficking in Persons (Prohibition), Law Enforcement and Administration Act, 2003 (as amended), is fraught with deficiencies and grossly inadequate to effectively combat the scourge of human trafficking in Nigeria,” Maku stated.

“Several provisions in the existing law are not consistent with the requirements of the Trafficking in persons Protocol, Supplementing the United Nations Convention against Transnational Organized Crime (Palermo Convention) 2000,” he stated further.

He noted that the principal objective of the current Bill is to repeal and cure the defects in the existing law and reposition the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons for effective delivery on its mandate and also provide for a more comprehensive, legal and institutional framework for the prohibition, prevention, detection, prosecution and punishment of human trafficking offences in Nigeria.

On the Council’s approval of sanctions against the contractor and supervisors of the Nigerian Navy building developed by Federal Housing Authority (FHA) but which collapsed last year in Gwarinpa, Abuja the Information Minister stated that the Minister of Lands, Housing and Urban Development presented a memo to appraise Council of the revised report of the cabinet committee to investigate the collapsed Nigerian Navy Building in Gwarinpa, Abuja.

The memo according to him also sought Council’s consideration and approval of its recommendations for the implementation adding that sequel to the non-approval of the report of the cabinet committee to investigate the said collapsed building at its meeting of 25th July 2012, the committee was advised to revisit the report with a view to addressing the concerns raised by the meeting.

He noted that the revised report has now sufficiently addressed these concerns within the relevant terms of reference of the committee and that after considering the reports of the committee, Council approved the recommendations.

Maku also disclosed that fake engineers were hired by the Navy to demolish the faulty building adding that the officer in the Navy who supervised it will be disciplined according to Navy and public service rules while there will be similar sanctions for the ministry officials found culpable for negligence of duty.

He stated further that the technical officers who designed and supervised the building were also found guilty while the company hired to demolish it was found incompetent noting that various forms of punishment were recommended and approved by the Council including a ban on participation in the construction of buildings in Nigeria by the contractor, E.C. Oba Industrial Company Limited.

Briefing the Council on the performances of the Ministry of Defence, Olusola Obada disclosed that the immediate past year witnessed increase in capacity of the military as the armed forces are doing much better.

In the aspect of looking inwards, Obada stated that the forces have developed unmanned aircraft and also armored personnel carrier as well as the establishment of a helicopter training school in Enugu while internal security operations are ongoing.

She noted the appreciable results attained in conjunction with other security and intelligence forces manifested in the drastic reduction in oil bunkering, remarkable success in tackling local insurgency and outstanding performance in international peacekeeping operations.

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