UN appoints NAPTIP chief into UNODC board of trustees

The United Nation’s General Assembly (UNGA), has appointed Mrs Julie Okah-Donli, the Director-General of the National Agency for the Prohibition of Trafficking in Persons (NAPTIP), to the board of trustees for United Nations office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC).

Okah-Donli’s appointment is contained in a statement issued to newsmen on Wednesday in Abuja by Mr Vincent Adekoye, an officer in NAPTIP’s press and public relations unit.

The statement said that Okah-Donli’s appointment was announced by the UN Secretary General alongside other eminent persons from Philippines, Armenia, Belgium and Panama.

According to the statement, the NAPTIP DG’s appointment, guaranteed her membership of the board of trustees for United Nations office on Drug and Crimes (UNODC).

It added that her responsibility would be to manage the funds meant for the protection of trafficking victims especially for women and children.

It explained that all the appointees were all given the assignment of managing the UN voluntary trust fund, which pools resources from International donors for the protection and assistance to trafficking victims with full respect to their human rights.

The statement noted that the appointment was on an ad-hoc and non remunerated basis, adding that this latest one came on the heels of a similar appointment for the DG sometime in July 2019, by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO).

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It said that Okah-Donli had also been appointed in 2019 by the UNESCO as a member of the project advisory committee on empowering young people in Africa through media and communication on irregular migrations.

UN organ’s statement said that “the general assembly established the UN voluntary trust fund for victims of trafficking, to provide humanitarian, legal and financial aid aid to victims of trafficking in person.

“As determined by the General Assembly, the board is composed of five experts with relevant experience in the field of trafficking in persons who are appointed on the basis of fair equitable geographical distribution.

“Also in consultation with member states and the Executive Director of UNODC.”

It listed other members on the UN assignment as, Ms Maria Susana V. Ople, Director of the Blas F. Ople Policy Centre, Philippines, Dr Victoria Avakova, Health and Anti-trafficking Project Coordinator at UMCOR–NGO, Armenia.

Others were Ms Be Inge be Vervotte, former Belgian Minister for Civil Service and Public Enterprises, Belgium, and Mr Alexis Bethancourt Yau, Panamanian Minister of Public Security, Panama.

It said the five new members would serve a three-year term and provide strategic advice to UNODC trust fund secretariat in the management of the fund.

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According to the statement, since the inception of the fund 10 years ago, the UN voluntary trust fund has awarded 4.6 million US dollars as grant to almost 90 NGO projects, directly assisting more than 3,500 victims of human trafficking per year, from around the world.

The statement added that Okah-Donli had continued to give Nigeria positive visibility across the world as champion and advocate of child protection and trafficking free world, thereby earning numerous awards and honours globally.

Meanwhile, the NAPTIP DG had descibed her appointment as a pleasant surprise.

“I am overwhelmed by this appointment, I want to sincerely thank the President Muhammadu Buhari for his firm support to NAPTIP and the institutional policies put in place to support the agency.

“I also appreciate the support of my supervising Minister, Hajia Sadiya Umar-Farouk, and also Directors and officers of NAPTIP for their unflinching support and cooperation.

“I will surely do my best to rate Nigeria high in this global assignment,” Okah-Donli said.

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